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FoRMEBLv Director of the U. S. Bureau op Statistics, Author ( 
"A History of the Precious Metals," "A History of Mone- 
tary Systems," "The Middle Aces Revisited," "The 
Worship of Augustus C^sar," etc., etc. 



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Preface, ix 

Bibliography, xi 

I. — Ancient Britain, i 

II. — The Roman Conquest of Britain, 15 

III. — Language, Laws, Government, Religion, . . 26 

IV. — From Agricola to the Sack of London, ... 34 

V. — The Last Century of Pagan Imperial Rule, 47 

VI. — The Revolt under Maximus, 383-9, .... 54 

VII. — The Reputed Invasion by Hengist and Horsa, . 64 

VIII. — Monuments of Roman Civilization, 75 

IX. — The Roman House of Commons, 89 

X. — Trial by Jury, 108 

XI. — The Writ OF Habeas Corpus, 113 

XII. — The Prerogative OF Money, 116 

XIII. — Rise of the Gothic Power on the Continent, . 126 

XIV. — The Gothic Province of Saxony, 135 

XV. — Destruction of THE Gothic Power, 145 

XVI. — Gothic Language, Government, Religion, . . 154 

XVIL — Gothic Remains Found in England, .... 166 

XVIII. — Pretended Bretwealdas of the Heptarchy, 175 

XIX. — The Norman Conquest, 182 

XX. — Conclusion, 189 


A — Origin of the British Tribes, 193 

B — The Codex Argenteus, 195 

C — Roman Walls in Britain, 199 

Index, 201 

O Corrigenda, 206 






It has been shown by writers of the highest credit, among whom 
are Sir Francis Palgrave and Thomas Wright the antiquarian, that 
the monkish chonicles which relate that Britain was occupied by An- 
glo-Saxons in the fifth century, are forged or corrupted, some of them 
centuries later than the aeras of their pretended authors. These spu- 
rious works were issued by or under the express authority of the same 
college which issued the forged Letter of St. Peter, the forged Do- 
nation of Constantine, the forged capitularies of Adrian and numer- 
ous other impostures. Albeit the true character of the false Saxon 
chronicles have been frequently exposed, they still continue to colour 
our popular histories and to injuriously affect our national policy. 
The archseological discoveries and especially the numismatic finds 
which have come to light in late years, not only corroborate the con- 
clusions of Palgrave and Wright, they impress upon us so ample a body 
of testimony against the false witnesses of Rome that, inert and in- 
difiFerent as we have hitherto been in the matter, we are now com- 
pelled to choose between them ; and upon that choice must depend 
the disposition of several important subjects of practical administra- 

As with the period of the barbarian occupation, so with the circum- 
stances of the Roman conquest, the early records of Britain have been 
largely falsified or perverted. Many of our institutes of freedom, such 
as the right of assemblage, of trial by jury, of immunity from unlaw- 
ful detention, of representation in the Comitia and the subjection of 
the ecclesiastical to the civil power, which are clearly derived from 
the early Roman republic, together with others of an entirely differ- 


ent sort, like the privileges and benefices of the priesthood, the feudal 
system and the institution of caste, which clearly sprang from the later 
Roman hierarchy, have, with careless inconsistency, been ascribed to 
the barbarians. It may be safely assumed that the tree which bore 
such diverse fruits sprang up in a cloister; for it will nowhere be 
found in the domain of nature. The worship of the Living Emperor, 
which was the corner-stone of the Roman hierarchy and was enforced 
in Britain for several centuries, giving rise at the very outset to the 
Revolt of Boadicea and remaining'unshaken until it was overthrown 
by the Goths; this too has been falsified or suppressed. The pres- 
ence of Moslem influence in Britain — a fact unmistakedly indicated 
by the gold dinars of Offa, the common use of Arabian marks, man- 
cusses, carats, and sterlings, and many other circumstances — ^allthis 
has been omitted from our histories and its place filled with fables 
stolen from the idolatrous mythologies of the Orient, or manufactured 
in the hotbeds of medieval imposture. 

Among the numerous products of hierarchical ingenuity none have 
more effectually fouled the stream of British history than the inven- 
tion of a line of Bretwealdas, or over-lords, who it is pretended, united 
the distracted chieftains of the Heptarchy and governed them in the 
name of Rome. This conceit, touching and warming a false national 
pride, has found belief, when it should only have excited contempt. 
It has slandered, belittled, and in some cases entirely removed from 
history, many of our brave Norse ancestors, those, who, whether pa- 
gans or christians, stamped upon our race the qualities and aptitudes 
for which we have the most reason to be proud, and filled their places 
with a succession of ** kings " without royal powers, of heroes whose 
only virtue was subserviency to Rome, and of saints who never ex- 
isted at all. 

The design of the present work is to restore to the pages of British 
history those circumstances of which forgery and imposture have de- 
prived it and which archaeology has found safely preserved in the pure 
bosom of the earth. 


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The name of Britain — The Veneti — The Phoenicians — The Greeks — Greek types 
of Coins found in Britain — Voyage of Pytheas — Landing of the Norsemen — Torfaeus 
— Archaeological remains — Religion — Svastica — Customs — Runic inscriptions — Name 
of the Sun-God — Tribal names — Place names — Name of London — Venet — Venicontes 
— Venetian glass — ^Virgil proves, and Bedc admits, that the Picts came from Scythia — 
Norsemen not Germans — The latter theory advanced by the Romans as a claim of 
dominion — Opinions of antiquarians — Tacitus identifies the lestians and Britons — 
Pliny classes together the Massagetae, Histians, Brittones, and Frisians — The Persians 
call the Scythians, Sacae — Tribes found in Britain by the Romans — Baug money — 
Progress of the Norsemen from Caledonia to South Britain — The Roman Conquest — 
Counts of the Saxon Shore — The subsequent Gothic revolt. 

BRITAIN has been usually regarded as a corruption of Bratanac, 
or Baratanac, the Phoenician term for ** Isles of Tin," or ** Tin 
Isles," which the Greeks translated into the equivalent Cassiterides. * 
Anac is advanced as a Syriac term for tin; bedil, commonly translated 
tin, being regarded to mean lead.' Another verbal theory is based on 
the story that before the conquest of Britain under Claudius, whilst 
Germanicus for two years was encamped near the sea shore, east of 
the Rhine, the sufferings of his troops, from their being obliged to 
drink brackish water, were alleviated by means of a plant, pointed out 
to them by the native Frisians, and called ** Britannica." Says Pliny, 
'*the name surprises me, though possibly it may have been so-called 
because the shores of Britannia are not far distant. " (Nat. Hist. , xxv, 
6.) Lipsius, in a note to Tacitus, finds a marshy tract, called '* Bret- 
aasche Heyde, upon the west banks of the Ems, between Lingen and 
Covoerden, upon which to base another verbal theory. But aside from 

* Anderson's "Hist. Commerce," ed. 1787, i, Ixxx. 

• Prof. Tychsen, in Beckmann's ** Hist, of Inventions/* art. ** Tin." Anac is used 
in Amos, vii, 7, 8. 


the anachronical character of this last suggestion, the locality, which 
is 60 miles from the sea-shore, is wholly unfit for a camp, and does not 
coincide with Pliny's description. However, the fact that Britannia 
is mentioned in a work ascribed to Aristotle, (de Mirabilibus Auscul- 
tationes,) rather disposes of the Bretaasche Heyde theory and con- 
firms Pliny's suspicion that the plant was named after a country, and 
not the country after the plant. But what country? This question, or 
rather the broader one, what is the origin of the names Britain and 
Bretagne, is thoroughly answered by the Roman archaeologist Dr. 
Vicenzo de Vit, in the Archaeological Journal, vol. xl. He holds that 
both Britain (England) and Bretagne (France) are named after Brit- 
tia, or Jutland. Pliny, who lived for thirty years in the northern coun- 
tries and was well acquainted with them, says (Nat. Hist., iv, 31, 106) 
that the Menapians, Scalds, Toxandrians, Frisians, and Britanni com- 
posed the inhabitants of the Low Countries. Hyginus, who wrote ' ' De 
Castrorum Munitione ** during the reign of Trajan, mentions (ch. 29 
and 30) the Brittones, as furnishing auxiliaries to the Romans, together 
with the Cantabri, Getae, and Dacians — all Goths. The *'Britones" 
in Juvenal, xv,i24, and ** Britannia*' in Martial, xi, 3, relate to Brittia, 
not to Albion. The **.Britanni " conquered by Augustus (Georgics, 
III, 25) were Netherlanders, not Islanders; for Augustus never was in 
Britain. On a bronze diploma of Domitian, A.D. 85, both Britannica 
aud Brittonum occur — a conclusive proof that they related to two dif- 
ferent peoples. A votive inscription, tempo Trajanos, has been found 
on the Rhine, near Xanten, dedicated to the ** Matres Brittiae," the 
Brittian Mother (of the gods). Other votive inscriptions with '* Brit- 
tones " and ** Brit." have been found in the Oden-wald, between the 
Neckar and Maine. Procopius (Gothic Wars, iv, 20) mentions the isle 
(the peninsular of Jutland was then deemed an island) of ** Brittia," 
which is situated between Britain (Albion) and Thule (Scandinavia), 
about 200 stadia from the Rhine. It is inhabited by Angles and Frisians 
called * *Brittones. " These and many other like evidences render it all 
but certain that Britain was named, as London was named, fron places 
in the mother country of the namers ; and that that mother country was 

Britain was known to the Phoenicians a thousand years before our 
sera, and may have been known to the Veneti of the Euxine at a still 
earlier date. It was known to the Carthaginians so early as 600 B.C., 
and to the Greeks before the time of Herodotus; for he mentions it 
as the Cassiterides, or Tin Islands. It was doubtless visited by Py theas 
of Marseilles during the aera of Alexander the Great. Native imitations 


of the Greek coins of this period have been found in many parts of 
Britain. It was even known to the East Indians, who got their tin 
from it.' Yet the monkish chroniclers assure us that the Northmen, 
who lived close to it, knew nothing of it until it was conquered, in the 
fifth century, by Hengist and Horsa. This idle tale will receive further 
attention as we proceed. For the present we shall dismiss it altogether 
and proceed to advance the reasons for believing that Britain was 
known to and settled by maritime tribes from the Baltic and North 
Seas, not only before the Gothic uprisings of the fourth and fifth cent- 
uries, but even before the Roman conquest. 

Torfaeus, in his ** Orcades," claims that his countrymen discovered 
Britain in the fourth century before the Christian sera and colonized 
it a century later. By itself this testimony would be of little worth, 
but it receives confirmation from sources whose correctness is hardly 
open to dispute. At every step of his progress throughout the British 
isles the antiquarian meets with the remains of an invading or coloniz- 
ing race, who in point of time must have preceded the Romans, and 
yet who were neither aboriginals, Phoenicians, Greeks, Iberians, Ger- 
mans, nor Gauls. These colonists were tall and powerful men, fair- 
haired, blue-eyed, and accustomed to the sea. They cultivated the 
«arth, manufactured wooden, bronze, and glass wares, traded with 
ring-money, fought with bronze weapons, and worshipped a deity 
whose symbol was the svastica, and to whom they sacrificed horses 
and sometimes men. These evidences all point to the Veneti and 
other Norse tribes of the Baltic. ** On the right-hand coast of the 
Suevian Sea,*' says Tacitus, ** dwell the lestians, whose dress and 
manners are Suevian, whilst their language is British (lingua Britan- 
nicse proprior). They cultivate the earth with far more industry than 
the Germans, they explore the adjacent sea for amber, which they 
dispose of in commerce. Using no iron, they fight with clubs, and 
they worship the Mother of the Gods, (Matrem deorum venerantur). " 
That the masters of lestia at this period were indeed Norsemen is not 
only proved from the similarity of their language with the Britsh and 
the close resemblance of ancient Norse and early English,* it is con- 
firmed by the situation of the Gothic metropolis of Venet, and by 
other circumstances which will be adverted to in the progress of the 
present work. Although the lestians had adopted the dress and some 

'Pliny, **Nat. Hist.," xxxiv, 16. 

^ The language now spoken in the more open parts of Norway, is Danish. The ancient 
tongue was discouraged and forbidden by the Roman church and driven to the more 
secluded parts, w^here it still lingers. 


of the habits of the Suevians, whose country they had invaded, yet 
their more industrious mode of life distinguished them, according ta 
the Roman historian, both from the Suevians and Germans. The an- 
tiquities found in Britain perfectly agree with this description. There 
is nothing to connect them with Germany; there is everything to con- 
nect them with Norway, lestia, Denmark, and the Low Countries. 

That remotely the Norsemen issued from that conquering race of 
Scythia which subdued successively the various powerful nations who 
encompassed its arid but elevated and bracing table-lands, there can 
be but little reasonable doubt. The proof lies in their Runic inscrip- 
tions and the name of the sun-god, les, which they bestowed upon nu- 
merous provinces, rivers, and towns. These inscriptions commence 
on the Yen-Iesei river, near Lake Baikal, and continue westward to 
Britain, lesland (Iceland) and Greenland. During the whole of this 
vast distance, until Britain is passed, the runic inscriptions and place- 
names derived from les are confined between the 50th and 60th paral- 
lels of north latitude, an isothermal zone, whose uniform climate 
affords strong corroboration of the theory deduced from archaeolog- 
ical etymology. Westward of the Yen-Iesei the Norsemen appear to 
have crossed and named the leshim, or Ishim, an affluent of the Irtish, 
in Siberia. Next we find them in lestia, or Estya, now Esthonia. In 
Brandenburg they were known as the lesidini, or Sidini, and the god 
they worshipped was called Rada-Gaisus, rada being a Mongolian 
form of the Indian rajah, or king.* Advancing westward and con- 
quering or amalgamating with the tribes of the coast and the adjacent 
flat country, they successively crossed and named the Am-Iesus, now 
the Ems, and the lessel, or Vessel, now the Saal. lesleben, or Eisle- 
ben, a town of Merseburg, on the Saal, an affluent of the lower Rhine ; 
lessen, a district of the lower Rhine; leserlohn, a town of Westphalia 
below Cologne; lesendyck, a town on the Blie eight miles east of 
Sluys in Flanders; Ober-Iessel and Am-Isia in Frisia (now Emden); 
and Isigny, a town near Bayeaux, on the north coast of France, all 
commemorate, in their names, a division of that Norse or Saxon 
race who eventually fell beneath the sword of Charlemagne. An- 
other division, passing to the northward of the Baltic, left their 
mark in the names of Up-sala and leskilstuna near Stockholm, and 
of leslof and lestad, towns in Gotland, the latter situated 26 m. S. E. 

* The aera of the Rada-Gaisus mentioned by Mascou (viii, 14) appears to have been 
about A. D. 406; but there was a more ancient god or hero of the same name, who flour- 
ished, or was believed to have flourished, many centuries previously. ** Father Jasius, 
from whom our race is descended," occurs in Virgil's *'iEneid,"iii. 168. The chronology 
of these heroes ordemi-gods is given in the author's " Worship of Augustus Caesar." 


of Lund, or Lunden. From Scandinavia they undoubtedly crossed to 
Britain, where one of their tribes was called the leseni, or Iceni. 
They built or dwelt near a town called Lunden, or London, situated 
upon a river which they called the Tam-Ies and the Romans, the Tam- 
Issus.' Thby also built a town named Oxford, on the banks of a river 
which they called the les, or Issus. The great antiquity and Gothic 
names of these rivers cannot be doubted, for it was also the name of 
the principal river of the Gothic Veneti, who, ages before, had colo- 
nized the shores of the Euxine.* 

The rock-cuttings of the Yen-Iesei are in Great Permia, near the 
city of Tzerdyn on the banks of the Tomm, between Tomskoi and 
Kusnetskoi, and are sculptured on the rocks through which the Yen- 
Iesei flows. They comprise runic letters, the sign of the cross fre- 
-quently repeated, a spoked wheel, a heart, and a chase on horseback 
-after wolves. Their general character is similar to the ancient rock- 
cuttings of Sweden and Iceland, represented in the wood-cuts pub- 
lished by Du Chaillu." The Jakuhti, (Jaku is one of the names of 
Buddha,) a pagan nation of ten tribes, comprising about 30,000 tax- 
payers, still live along the river Lena, near Jakutskoi. They call 
themselves Zachi. Procopius, iv, 24, mentions the Zachi or Zechi, 
probably related to Sacse or Saxons. The Kalmucks, who worship 
Buddha, designate him as Zacha or Xaca. Formerly the Zachi lived 
near Lake Baikal, with the Bretti or Bratti, from whom they after- 
wards separated. They adore a triune god, one of whose personages 
they suspend in effigy upon a tree whilst in the act of worship. Cer- 

• Among several remains of very ancient Norse council-rings, Mallet found one at 
Lunden, in Scania. It was therefore a place of importance. This Lunden is at the 
southernmost extremity of the Swedish peninsular. There are other Lundens both in 
Sweden and Denmark. The leseni and Trinobantes, who occupied the country near 
London, in Britain,when the Romans first took possession of it, were probably lestians, 
or Gothic tribes.and it may be reasonably conjectured that, following an almost universal 
custom, the name of the place was brought by their forefathers from their ancient homes 
in Gotland and lestia. "* Hecataeus, in Strabo, xii, 3, 25. 

^ The rock inscriptions on the Orkhon river, which flows from Karakorum northward 
into Lake Baikal, contain similar characters, as well as others of a less archaic period. 
These last are said to be Turkish monuments of the seventh and eighth centuries, men- 
tioning a Turkish prince called Kul-Teghin, whose aera antedates by four or five centuries 
the first appearance of the Turks in current western literature. The credit of decipher- 
ing and publishing these inscriptions belongs to Prof. Thomsen, of Copenhagen, and 
Dr. W. Radlof, of the Imperial Academy of St. Petersburgh. Trans. Tenth Cong. 
Orientalists at Geneva, London Times, Sept. 28, 1894. A Turkish prince of the sixth 
-century, Mu-han Khan, the conqueror and successor of Solien Khan of the White 
Huns, is mentioned in the fragmentary chronicles of the latter. Numismatic Chronicle, 
1894, part III. 


tain trees are sacred to them. Their yearaMfce present time begins 
at the vernal equinox, when they light perpetual fires, sacrifice horses, 
and drink koumiss. Similar fires, lighted by the ancient jCknbri and 
Gots, also the keeping of the ninth day, are mentioned by Trogus, 
or Troghill Arnkiels, in his accoiant of the ** Religion of the Cimbrian 
pagans," Hamburg, 1702, and by Adam of Bremen, p. 144. Before 
they were subdued by the Russians the Zachi used to offer human 
sacrifices at the graves of their chieftains. They were an exclusively 
pastoral nation, who practiced polygamy, and sold their wives. He- 
rodotus states that the Veneti had a similar custom. Each tribe of 
the Zachi had a favourite aninal for its ensign, or *' totem,'' as the 
raven, swan, goose, etc., a custom similar to that of the lestians, 
Norsemen and Danes. Many of these details, together with others 
equally suggestive, will be found in Philip John von Strahlenberg's 
' ' Northern and Eastern Europe and Asia. " The author was a Swedish 
officer, who was taken prisoner at the battle of Pultowa, (1709,) and 
spent thirteen years of captivity in Siberia. The worship of Yen-Iesei 
or Gan-esa, (him of the twelve sacred names,) and his holy Mother, 
by tribes still dwelling in the nooks of the Himalaya mountains, is 
described in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, uii, 71. 

Whatever doubts may remain with regard to the genealogy of the 
Norse tribes, there can be few with respect to their early settlement 
and conquest of Britain. Let us begin with the evidences afforded us 
by the names of tribes and places. The earliest names that have been 
preserved of the tribes north of the Humber are Norse or Gothic. 
Thus, parts of Northumbria, Merse and the Lothians, were inhabited 
by the Ottodini, probably from Otto, a common name among Norse 
chieftains. At a later period the Ottodini were classed with the Maeatse, 
another proof of Norse origin. Other parts of Northumbria and Tiviot- 
dale were inhabited by the Gadeni, probably a corruption of Gateni, 
or Getse. The Selgovae possibly got their name from the Norse ** sil "^ 
orsild; the Novantse, Damnii, Epidii, Gerones, Carnonacae, Carini, 
Carnavii, Logi, and Cantae, were petty tribes who occupied other por- 
tions of Scotland at the period of Agricola's conquest. They have 
usually been classed with the Maeatse, probably identical with the 
Mertse, whom Ptolemy locates in the northwest part of Sutherland. 
Unless they were Norsemen, or else Aborigines, whom the Norse left 
behind them in their southward progress and who at a later period 
united with them against their common enemy, the Roman authori- 
ties, there is no clue to their origin. Maeatas is the original name of 
the tribe which was afterwards called indifferently Maeatae or Gaetae> 


a fact due to the absence of the letter G in the early runes and the 
resemblance of G to M in the later ones. The Venicontes of Fife, 
who had a town named Orrea, which was near the river Ore, were 
probably Norsemen, all these names being Norse. Dungeness, Fife- 
ness, Arundel, Dover, Canterbury, orCantabri, Orail, Oxford, Orford, 
Naze, Nore, and many other English names of places, are derived 
from Norwegian prototypes; as Arendal, Dovre, Oxenfiord, Ness and 
Nor. Indeed Norse names of places abound all over Britain, as Lon- 
don, Saturday, Wednesday, Satterthwait, Whitby, Grimsby, Sheer- 
nessi, and all towns ending in ** by," ** ford," or **ness." • Not one 
of these was brought from Germany. The use of the term ** dale " 
for valley, proves Norse settlement. The '*bols " of Sutherland and 
Ross, bespeak the presence of Norsemen. ** The Norse foirdr may 
be discovered under many a strange form, not the least being Knut- 
fiordr, or Cnut's firth, appearing as Knoidert, pronounced in Gaelic, 
Croderst. Norse place-names occur all the way from Caithness to 
Cantyre." " But such evidence cannot be accepted to prove the pres- 
ence of Norsemen previous to or during the Roman occupation, un- 
less the period can be ascertained when the Norse names of these 
places were conferred or employed. The doom-rings, runic inscrip- 
tions and other Norse remains found in various parts of Britain, are 
testimonies of a similar kind. They prove the presence of Norsemen, 
but not the period of their coming. De Quincy says that the English 
lake dialects and the names of mountains, tarns, etc., are ^*pure Danish 
of the elder form." " The cockney dialect is evidently derived from 
that of Osen, where its analogue is still spoken. One has only to 
travel a month or two in Norway to remark the striking similarity 
between its inhabitants and those of North Britain, both in stature, 
hardihood, features, complexion, language, fearless bearing, love of 
freedom and aptitude for a seafaring life. 

Caledonian was the name employed by the earlier Romans to desig- 
nate all the tribes without the Wall. The name is derived from Cael 
or Gael (Gaul), and dun, a mountain, and meant Gauls of the Moun- 
tains, or highlanders. As is elsewhere explained with regard to the 
Roman use of the word ** Germany," this word was erroneous and 
misleading. The Romans in Britain had made allies of the Norsemen 
and enemies of the Gaels. Hence they choose to regard all the bar- 

* Ness means nose, or cape. It is the same in Russian, Scandinavian, English, French, 
and Spanish; in short, in the language of every country conquered by the Goths. 

" Proceedings Society Scottish Antiquarians, April 12, 1886. 

" De Quincey's Works, x. 60, and xiii. 273-83. ** Danish of the elder form " means 
the ancient Norse, now only spoken in the more secluded parts of Norway. 


barians without the Wall as Gaels'*: but this was so far from being 
true that the later Romans classified them into two races and referred 
to them by the names which they had given each other. One race 
was called Scuites, the other Picts. We are told that Scuites meant 
scutlers or wanderers, and Picts, pickers, or plunderers; but this is 
mere trifling. Picts was the name of a tribe of Goths who are men- 
tioned as such by Virgil and Claudian. '* Scythians, Scuites, and Scots 
are one word and mean one people. 

The name of Veneti is very remarkable. We have elsewhere traced 
it from the Euxine to the Adriatic. It may be also traced to Taren- 
tum. Caesar found it at the mouth of the Loire, where the Veneti and 
Picts had trading stations, which were evidently connected with others 
in Britain and the Low Countries, for when he attacked them, they 
sent to Britain and Menapia for aid. They are mentioned, under the 
name of Vendians,by Tacitus and other Roman writers,as inhabitants 
of the Baltic coasts. If we may be guided by the names Venicontes 
and Menapia, they had also stations on the coasts of Scotland and 
Wales. Little or no mention is made of them during the Dark Ages, 
but later on they are described as possessing the rich and populous 
city of Venet, from which they commanded the trade of the Baltic, 
and which, until they were driven out by Charlemage, was the capital 
of the Saxons." 

The tribes whom the Romans encountered in Britain may be divided 
into four principal classes. First, the aboriginal Britons, probably 
from the '*isle'*of Brittia, or Jutland. Second, the Gaels, whose Druid 
religion embraced some rites gathered from the Punic and Iberian 
traders who had visited their shores for tin. Third, the Gothic tribes 
from the neighborhood of Bergen, Osen, (Oxen,) Lunden, and other 
places in Norway, whose religion was the worship of Thor, Woden, 
and Frica, the Mother of Gods." The lestians alluded toby Tacitus, 

^' Caesar committed the same blunder: he classed the Picts and Gsels together. De 
Bell. Gall., iii, ii. The country of the Vendians and Picts still goes by their names, 
Vendue and Poictiers. 

" ** Pictosquc Gelonos," Georgica, ii, 115; *' Perlegit exsangues Picto moriente fig- 
uras." De Bell. Get. 418, tempo Arcadius et Honorius. The word meant ** Painted 
men," or men who tat 00 their bodies, as their descendants do to this day. 

" See further on, chapter xv, on the Pagan Hansa. 

" There are various monkish legends to account for the name of London, and the 
reader has ample room for choice between them. The popular one is from Goeffrey of 
Monmouth, who connects it with the fabulous king Lud. It has the disadvantage of 
being complicated with the Trojan i£neas, Brutus, etc. To these verbal theories Sir 
Walter Besant has recently made an addition. What we know for certain is that London 
had its present name, that is to say, Londinium, the Latin form of it, so early as the 
period of Tacitus, for it is so written in his Annals, xiv, 33. It has also been found 
OQ numerous tiles of the same period. Archaeological Journal, XL, 80. 


(the Picts of Virgil and Claudian,) were probably one of those hybrid 
tribes, whose Gothic fathers, Gelones or Suiones, had amalgamated 
with native A?omen, Suevlans, to the confusion of history and the efiface- 
ment of racial relations." Fourth, the Belgian tribes from Soissons, 
Rheims,Bibrax,Artois, Arras, etc., named Suessiones, Regni, Bibroci, 
and Attrebatti, who came into Britain shortly before the first invasion 
of Caesar, and whose racial characteristics and religion both seem to 
have been influenced by contact with the Saxon or Gothic tribes who 
had previously invaded the Low Countries. 

To these tribes may be added the Gaelic priests, whose establishment 
in Britain had been greatly augmented in consequence of the hostile 
measures of Julius Caesar in Gaul. That country, once the seat of a 
powerful hierarchy, was now a political ruin. After passing through 
the various stages of that feudalism which appears to be the invariable 
4nd inevitable consequence of hierarchical government, Gaul had 
fallen under the sway of a multitude of warring chief tains. To grind 
them against one another, as Cortes afterwards ground the Toltecs 
and Aztecs, the Tlascalans, and Mexicans, was no great achievement 
for the greatest politician of his age. To get rid of the Druidical 
priests and fill their places with Romans, was a far more difficult task 
and of greater political importance. The sword and the lash may have 
sufficed to drive the more stubborn Druids to Britain; but methods 
less irritating to the remaining Gauls were required to reconcile them 
to the ministrations of strangers. These were probably the retention 
of the more tractable priests in Roman ecclesiastical establishments " ; 
the adoption into theRoman provincial ritual of some of the old Druid- 
ical gods, customs, and symbols; and finally, the advancement of the 
Gaulic chieftains to senatorial and other imperial honours. These 
measures probably sufficed to ensure that rapid overthrow of the 
Druidical hierarchy, which had been nearly effected by internal decay 
before Caesar invaded their country. 

'• Murphy, in a note to this passage, (Gcr. 45,) argues that the British dialect of the 
lestians proves affinity to the Gaels of Britain, and that therefore their race was Gselish, 
or, as he confusedly terms it, *• Scythico-Celtic." But there is no affinity between Eng- 
lish and Gaelic, whilst between English and Norse the affinity is marked. Moreover, it 
would be difficult to account for the presence of Gaels in Esthonia; whilst that of the 
Veneti and Norsemen is well attested. Mr. Arthur J. Evans, the archaeologist, writes 
from Oxford to the *• Times," under date of September 21, 1893, concerning the recent 
finds of pottery at Aylcsford, in Kent, and of spiral glass ornaments in the Glastonbury 
fens, that they establish beyond doubt a connection between the Veneti and pre-Roman 
Britain : an opinion in which he appears to be joined by Prof. Boyd Dawkins. On a Hindu 
intaglio found at Montrose, in Scotland, consult Trans. Royal Asiat. Soc, Dec, 1830. 

"An instance of this character is mentioned by Tacitus, Annals, I, 57. 


Among the most remarkable and distinctive of antiquarian remains 
which attest the early domination of Norse tribes in Britain, and there- 
fore the fabulous character of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of the fifth 
century, are the bangs, or ring-money, which, at least in northern Eu- 
rope, are known to have been used only by the Norse or Gothic tribes. 
Vast numbers of these rings, which from their size, material, and 
other circumstances were evidently employed for money, have been 
fmiiul in subterranean hoards in various parts of Britain and Norway. 
They are Iret|uently mentioned iM^ononey in the Norse sagas; and to 
attest their epoch, they Tire succinctly described by Caesar, who in- 
forms us that they were used as money by the tribes whom he en-* 
countered in Britain. 

These evidences and others of the same sort yet to be produced, are 
mutually corroborative; they crystalize together; they fit each other, 
and are seen to be parts of one great truth — a truth, that in the frag-' 
ments of ancient literature and in the fabulous chronicles of the med- 
ieval monks,all of which have emanated from the same Sacred College 
of Rome, found no place at all. That the world had been grossly de- 
ceived by these forgeries was long ago shown by Horsley, and has 
since been confirmed by Wright, Kemble, Russell, and other distin- 
guished antiquarians; yet they continue to fill the popular histories 
and to work their baneful influence upon the popular mind. 

Bede admits that the Picts came from Scythia, whose coasts, there 
can be little doubt, were, centuries before his time, entirely in posses- 
sion of the Norsemen. That the Picts were a Gothic race is not only 
evident from these circumstances, it was the opinion of Bishop Still- 
ingfleet, Dr. Russell, and other antiquarians. Says Dr. Russell, (1,43,) 
** On attentive reflection and inquiry I am convinced, by the express 
authority of Bede and by other considerations, that the Picts were 
Scandinavian emigrants who passed from Norway into the country 
now called Scotland, long before the Romans visited this island, and 
were not of the Celtic, but of the Gothic race. '* " The passages from 

^^ The Orkneyinga Saga, p. 550, says that the aborigines of these islands were Picts. 
According to Torfaeus, the isles were discovered by the Norsemen, B. C. 385, and col- 
onized B. C. 260. In A. D. 839 the Picts of Orkney fled to Norway, and in the reign 
of Harold Harfaga, 865-933, they induced him to reinstate them in their native country. 
The Orkney and Jetland isles were possessions of the Norwegians from the ninth century 
down to the year 1468-9, when they were pledged by Christian 1., for 58,000 Rhenish 
florins. Although, according to the Norwegian accounts, this debt was frequently 
offered to be repaid, both to the Scotch and English kings, they refused to restore the 
' islands. The last offer was made by Frederick V., about 1750. A Scotch antiquarian 
P^'ays: ** The possession of the Hebrides by the Norsemen must have given them great 
on i^^'ience on the west coast." There can be little doubt that this influence extended 
. ' ever there was water enough to float an oared barge. 


Virgil and Claudian, which seem to have escaped Dr. Rttssell's re* 
searches, attest the souadness of his conclusions. 

The inclusion of the Baltic coasts in the *' Germany " of Tacitus, and 
their subsequent inclusion in the *' Teutonic race " theories invented 
]jy ecclesiastical writers and accepted by those who have thoughtlessly 
followed them, is of a piece with the claims advanced by Cortes and 
Pizarro in America: ** God gave the earth to Christ: Christ to Peter: 
Peter to the Pope: the Pope to Charles I., whose Lieutenant am I; 
therefore I advise you to lay down your arms, and to swear fealty and 
pay tribute to your rightful suzerain : otherwise I will despoil and 
destroy you ! *' Germany was a province of Rome, whose sovereign- 
pontiffs assumed the title of Germanicus. If the Saxons, Goths, Norse- 
men, Veneti, call them what you will, are shown to be of German 
descent, then they were vassals of Rome. Tacitus advances this theory 
in describing the scope of Germania; Charlemagne enforced it with 
the sword; and the Roman church, devoting centuries to the purpose, 
patiently worked it into the language, customs, and annals of the 
North. Yet there is not a grain of truth in it: the Saxons, or North- 
men, and the Germans have teleologically nothing in common. 

Putting together these various evidences we are warranted in as- 
serting that the Gothic invasion or colonization of Britain took place 
not under the Empire, but during the Commonwealth of Rome. The 
ice, the cold, the long dark winters, the damp, the fogs of northern 
Britain had no terrors for the new-comers: they had experienced dis- 
comforts like these in the Holy Land of Norway, whence their vikings 
first adventured to the Jetlands. They saw only the bright side of 
things, the warm flood, which, coming from some unknown Paradise 
beyond the Western Ocean, madly raced through the North Passage 
and cast strange relics upon the shores of Cantyre; " the bright sun, 
which for a time scarce dips beneath the horizon ; the wild heather 
which gaily decked the moors; the welcome summer warmth; the 
quick vegetation ; above all, the numerous inlets and ports of the coast, 
delighted them ; for the Norsemen were a race of sailors, accustomed 
to live upon the waters, and to laugh at storms. To their dull and 
heavy, but brave and practical minds, the land was good enough. 
Pytheas of Marseilles, had visited it before them, perhaps had told 
them something about it, how few inhabitants it possessed, how easily 

*• *' The Land Junction of Great Britain and Ireland,'* by J. C. King, pamph., 1879. 
Logs of wood of a kind unknown in Europe have floated to Spitsbergen. These derelicts 
must have suggested to the Norsemen the existence of land to the westward. DufFerin » 
**High Latitudes," 189. 


these could be beaten off, or what rich spoils might be had on the 
southern downs. Of this distant portion of Albion the Norsemen of 
that early period probably knew little or nothing. But plunder has 
ever been to them a word of magic charm ; so that in the course of a 
century or two, when their colonies in the northern country were well 
established and strongly fortified, it is safe to assume that they had 
reconnoitered the coast at least, to the Humber on the east, and the 
Mersey on the west, sailing up all the firths and rivers, picking up a 
few words of Gaelic, and capturing such spoil as fell in their way. 

South of the Humber they found tribes of people greatly differing 
from themselves; shorter, darker, and much more civilized, or as they 
regarded it,richer in moveable property." Among those natives, whom 
the Romans afterwards called Brigantes, ** were to be observed some 
refugees belonging to tribes of the southern coasts, whence they had 
been expelled recently by other refugees from Belgium. Availing 
themselves of the information gained by these reconnaisances,we may 
suppose that the Norsemen gradually advanced their settlements down 
the coasts, until their dominion extended to the Thames, driving the 
natives before them and seizing their possessions. In these conflicts 
they proved themselves to be inferior to the tribes previously pos- 
sessed of the land in nothing but flocks and herds, and to remedy this 
inequality was probably among the first measures which distinguished 
their early polity. As for stout weapons and brawn withal to wield 
them, the Norsemen asked no odds of any one, whether of blue-blooded 
Brigante or parvenu Gael, whether from Rheims, or from Soissons. 

It was whilst these adventurers, whose forefathers had sailed from 
Brittia and Halgaland, were picking their way southwards, that Julius 
Caesar, at the head of 40,000 veteran soldiers, landed on the southern 
coast, and pressed northwards. Between this upper and nether mill- 
stone, as though forecasting the manner of their subsequent destruc- 
tion, lay the pent-upon Gaels and Belgians. 

Following these events, after the interval of a century, came the 
permanent, the Roman conquest of Britain. This time it was not 
Julius, wisely content with determining the frontiers of the empire, 
but Claudius, eager to celebrate a triumph and establish the worship 
of the emperors. The cost of forcing this religion upon Britain was 
the political extinction both of the ancient Gaels, the Belgian refu- 
gees, and the lesini. Then the upper and nether millstones came 

^^ ** England is richest in moveable property of all the northern lands.** Knytlinga 
Saga, c. 19. 

^' Possibly from the biga, or chariot, which they used in battle. 


together, and having no longer any native grist to grind, they ground 
each other. 

In the Goths the Romans met foemen worthy of their steel. Other 
races they had divided and assimilated ; the Goths were rarely di- 
vided and never wholly subdued. Their peculiar religion kept them 
together and upon terms with other Buddhic tribes; whilst their phys- 
ical strength, numbers and maritime proficiency, rendered them diffi- 
cult to master. So long as the Romans kept to the ancient policy of 
religious toleration, the Goths remained on the best of terms with 
them; and supplied them with wives, workmen, citizens, soldiers 
and even a few commanders. Some of these were ennobled by the 
Romans as Counts of the Saxon Shore. 

The fiercer tribes of the Goths, the Maeatse, Picts, and Scuites,made 
frequent attacks upon the Roman settlements; but until the third 
century, although often goaded to the point of revolt, the Goths within 
the Walls, whom the archaeological remains assure us must have formed 
the principal portion of the tribes subject to the Romans, remained 
at peace with their conquerors. The final rupture between them evi- 
dently originated in the enforcement of the official religion. The 
Gothic races, not only in Britain, but also in every other province in 
which they were established, absolutely refused to submit to hier- 
archical government. They were willing to obey the emperor, and 
might even have been taught to worship him; but to regard him as 
equally man and god, or both as earthly sovereign and high-priest 
of Heaven; to surrender not only the greatest but also the smallest 
of their affairs into his hands, or what was still worse, into the hands 
of the numerous intermediaries who had sprung up between the veiled 
Caesar and his subjects ; was more than Gothic common sense could 
grasp, or Gothic patience endure. In the third century, as though 
by a concerted signal, the entire Gothic race in Europe rose up in 
arms against a religion which they could not understand, and a gov- 
ernment too distant to afford them either protection or redress. The 
Varangians of the lower Danube, the Vendians of Scythia, the Saxons 
of the Baltic coasts, the Menapians, and the Salian Franks of the Low 
Countries, the Maeatae, Picts, and Norsemen of Britain, all allied races, 
made a simultaneous attack upon the Roman garrisons. In the course 
of two or three centuries the remains of the native tribes, who had 
once acted as buffers between these mighty forces, were everywhere, 
except in southern Gaul, and Boetica, crushed and swept out of sight. 

From the dust of this conflict sprang the Four Great Nations who, 
between them, have achieved all the notable results of modern mari- 


time discovery, and who, as a token of this naval aptitude and su- 
premacy, to-day command both shores of the North Atlantic; the 
Angles, the Saxons, the Gaels, the Salian Franks, and the Normans, 
are all Gothic races, whose common parentage has hitherto been re- 
fused a registry, and whose common characteristics have been de- 
signedly disguised and kept out of view. 

These characteristics are the capacity of great physical endurance, 
the love of freedom, of home, of fireside, the fear of God, an abhor- 
rence of plotting, mystery, or subterfuge, and a passionate instinct 
for the sea. Upon this Gothic foundation their social life has reared 
an edifice, whose materials, forged in the civil conflicts of the ancient 
Roman Republic, but buried for centuries by the Roman Hierarchy, 
were at length recovered and employed in the construction of the 
Western kingdoms. These materials are Constitutional Government, 
Supremacy of the Law, the Right of Assemblage, Representation in 
the Comitia, Trial by Jury, and the Restriction of the Church to spir- 
itual affairs. All these and other institutions of freedom, for the most 
part unknown to the Goths in their tribal state, were by them resur- 
rected from the ancient Commonwealth of Rome and implanted in the 
early charters of France and England. 

** The Norsemen deified the Sea-tempest and called it Aegir^ a very 
dangerous Jotun and now, to this day, on the river Trent, the Not- 
tingham bargemen when the river is in a certain flooded state call it 
Eager; they cry out, *Have a care, there is the Eager coming! ' Cu- 
rious; that word surviving, like the peak of a submerged world! The 
oldest Nottingham bargemen had believed in the god Aegir. Indeed, 
our English blood, in good part, is Norse, or, rather at bottom, Norse 
and Saxon have no distinction. * * * All over our Island we are 
mingled with Danes * * * in greater proportion along the East Coast, 
and greatest of all, as I find, in the North Country. From the Hum- 
ber upwards, all over Scotland, the speech of the common people is 
still, in a singular degree, Icelandic." " 
•« Thomas Carlyle. •* Hero Worship." 




Conquest and settlement — Formation of a Romano-Gothic race — Reasoiis why the 
history of Roman Britain is commonly slurred over or suppressed — Division of the lands 
of Britain — Estates granted — Treatment of the Norse and Gaelic natives — Quasi-feudal 
fiefs — Ecclesiastical lands — Benefices — Mining — Opulence of Roman Britain — High 
state of civilization — Roads — Fisheries — Drainage of the Fens — River dikes — Indus- 
trial establishments — Fortresses, villas, basilicas, temples, and other public works — 
Security of life — Diversity of industries — Commerce — Com trade — Money — Irritating 
restrictions imposed at Rome — Trades and trade guilds—Merchants— Bankers— Learned 
Professions — Church — Law — Medicine — Navigation — Astronomy — Fine Arts. 

IN another place reasons will be given for believing that the Romans 
remained in possession of some portions of Britain until a much 
later period than is commonly supposed. For the present it will be 
sufficient to recall the commonly accepted belief that the legions held 
control of Britain from the reign of Claudius to nearly the middle of 
the fifth century, that is to say, for upwards of four hundred years. 
This control was substantially unbroken and continuous. It extended 
over the entire island from sea to sea, and from the Channel north- 
wards to the prodigious line of fortifications and battlements known 
anciently as the Outer Wall and now as Graham's Dyke. Within this 
area the Romans established a provincial state whose inabitants dif- 
fered from those of the mother country chiefly in the important re- 
spect that each successive generation was recruited from fresh stock, 
the result of marriages between Roman soldiers drawn from every 
country in Europe and women who were always, or nearly always, of 
Norse descent. The product of these unions was a provincial race, which 
as time went on became more and more Gothic and less and less Ro- 
man ; so that at the period when, according to the monkish chronicles, 
Britain was suddenly snatched from the Romans by unconnected bands 
of barbarian Goths from Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein, the prov- 
ince was already filled with a Gothic race which was not barbarian 
but civilized and which possessed all the advantages of walls, castles, 
fortifications, arms, equipment, commissariat, discipline, superior 


numbers, and unity of purpose. The shriek of despair which the 
chroniclers have transmitted to us from this period is probably one of 
those rhetorical touches which characterizes all fabulous or semi- 
fabulous history. 

The Roman government of Britain having lasted at least four cent- 
uries, why is it that this period is usually disposed of by modern writ- 
ers in the fewest lines and that in some historical works it is scarcely 
mentioned at all? The museums and antiquarian collections are full 
of objects belonging to it. Is it for lack of interest in the events 
of the period? They are the most significant, the most instructive, 
the most important events that ever happened to the country pre- 
vious to the thirteenth century. No. The true reason is that any 
examination of this period which is not entirely superficial discloses 
facts to publish which would jeopardize the popularity of the book 
that mentioned them. It comes to this then, the truth having been 
rendered incredible, unpopular and unprofitable — therefore let us 
continue to suppress it. 

But, as Polybius long since remarked, history which is not founded 
upon the truth is an idle tale that may serve to entertain or amuse, 
but not to guide or instruct. Such history is now out of date. The 
world is moving on. New political situations occur every day. We 
want actual events, pictures of actual life, actual thoughts, actual pas- 
sions — in a word, experience — to pilot us. In place of this we have 
been offered little else than cloister tales made readable by modern 
art: medieval mendacity perpetuated by historical romances. 

With the conquest of Britain by Claudius, the circle of the Roman 
hierarchy was completed. It embraced all the ancient hierarchies of 
the Occident — Persia, Assyria, Egypt, Greece, Etruria, and Gaul. 
Outside of this circle there appeared to be no organized state west 
of the Indies; only predatory and wandering tribes, attached to no 
particular soil and united by no general polity. In these and many 
other respects the wanderers closely resembled the northern Indians 
and the relations which the latter bore to the European colonies of 
America. Passionately fond of freedom, brave, strong, fierce, cun- 
ning, warlike, and inured to every species of danger and privation, 
they were nevertheless no match for disciplined men, abundantly pro- 
vided with arms, food, and the resources of civilization; and in the 
end the Indians succumbed. So with the so-called barbarians of Eu- 
rope. Barring a few engagements at long intervals, in which the 
Romans suffered defeat, the latter rarely had any serious difficulty to 
repel the tribes who dwelt beyond the Rhine, the Danube, and the 


Outer Wall of Britain. We shall deal in another place with the so- 
called barbarian invasions of the fifth century; meanwhile what is 
desired to be conveyed is that no fears of barbarian conquest prevented 
the Romans during their occupation of Britain from freely expending 
upon the improvement or embellishment of that island, its numerous 
cities, ports, commercial centres, roads, arteries, and channels of com- 
munication, all the capital, art, and labour they had at command, and 
for which employment could be found. 

In fact the antiquarian remains prove that, after a brief initial period 
of conquest and settlement, Britain acquired all those elements of 
civilization and progress which distinguished the mother country at 
the same period. Martial boasted that no sooner did the legions con- 
quer Britain than Roman civilization, institutes, and literature filled 
the places which their swords had made vacant, and Juvenal, that even 
the learning and eloquence of Rome was extended to that distant prov- 
ince. When the neglect of modern historians in respect of these details 
is borne in mind, the reader may perhaps not unwillingly listen to some 
of the most notable results of the Roman conquest of Britain. 

Previous to this event, Britain was little more than a desert. The 
island, for the most part, consisted of forest, moor, and fen ; the clear- 
ings were few, mostly upon the southern coasts, whose inhabitants 
had learnt, through intercourse with the Phoenician, Carthaginian, 
and Greek traders, some rudimentary arts of civilized life. The rivers, 
winding through a rich soil and without the restraint of dykes, were 
bordered by extensive marshes, which rendered them difficult to cross 
and useless for transportation, or commerce. The products of the soil 
were limited to the natural grasses upon which the cattle were fed, 
and to a scanty crop of corn. Add to these resources the wild coster, 
plum, and several sorts of berries and nuts, and we have an almost 
complete inventory of all that the land yielded to support human life. 
The numerous fruits and vegetables and commercial plants which now 
grow with so much luxuriance, were nearly all introduced by the Ro- 
mans; the peach, apricot, and pear from Asia; the vine, cherry, and 
currant from Greece; the apple, goosebery, and chestnut from Italy; 
the walnut from Gaul. 

There are reasons to believe that in the settlement of Britain, those 
native chieftains who evinced a willingness to live under Roman laws 
were granted something like feudal fiefs, which were to last during 
the lifetime of the incumbent or else during that of the sovereign- 
pontiff of Rome and renewable at death. Such appears to have been 
the nature of the estates granted by Claudius to Prasutagus and Cogi- 


danus. * An inscription discovered at Chichester proves that Cogidanus, 
for one, ruled as Legatus Augustus, ' and it is more than likely that 
Frasutagus also ruled with the same vicarious title and powers. 

The natives who proved less tractable were either driven off or re- 
duced to vassalage and their lands seized and engrossed by the fisc, 
or sovereign-pontifical treasury, which, afterappropriating a specified 
portion of them to the service of the local temples, leased out the re- 
mainder to the veteran troops or to Roman colonists, both of whom, 
under the conditions common to such fiefs, were liable to military 
service." As we shall see farther on, these estates were afterwards sub- 
jected to the management of the proconsuls, to whom, instead of to the 
sovereign-pontiff, as formerly, the rents and military service became 

The lands donated to the temples were also leased out, because since 
they had become the property of the gods, they could not be sold. 
AsUhe ecclesiastical profession enjoyed the benefit (beneficio) of ex- 
emption from military service, these lands were much sought after by 
those who preferred a peaceful to a military life. We have here all 
the materials of a feudal land system. Most of these arrangements 
were made between the reigns of Claudius and Caracalla. In Mr. 
Coote's interesting work, the system of surveying, allotting and mark- 
ing off the lands by stone monuments are all clearly and accurately 
pourtrayed. Agriculture was pursued so systematically that in Gaul 
the Romans used machine-mowers drawn by two horses, and it can 
scarcely be doubted that implements equally perfect were employed 
in Britain.* 

Next in importance to the surface rights were those which related 
to mines. Besides ** streaming " for tin in Cornwall and workingsome 
small alluvial *' washings" for gold in the mountain-basins and river- 
valliesof Wales, there are no evidences of any mining in Britain pre- 
vious to the Roman settlement. Then, suddenly, the whole island 
seems to have been ransacked for metals. Subterranean mines of gold, 
silver, silver-lead, silver-zinc, tin, copper, iron, lead, coal,* and jet, 
were opened in all directions and attacked with an energy and suc- 
cesswhich it is difficult to measure without visiting the immense dumps, 
heaps of debris and other remains left behind, some of which, as in 
the case of the iron ore refuse heaps at Kangie, have been reworked 

• Tacitus, Agric, xiv. ' Horsley, Brit. Rom., 332. 

• Sir Francis Palg^rave, ** Eng. Com.," i, 351, supports the feudal view herein taken. 

• Pliny, xvin, 30; Columella, 11, 21. 

' The Romans worked coal mines at North Benwell and other places in the Tyne valley. 


in modern times. Quarries of chalk and building-stone, lime-kilns» 
brick, tile, and pottery works, were established in almost every neigh- 
borhood which has since been utilized for similar industries. Within 
eighty years of its conquest distant Britain was important enough to 
merit a ceremonious visit from the divine Hadrian; and sufficiently 
opulent to sustain a vast local expenditure for roads, temples, fortifi- 
cations, drainage-works, river*embankments, ports, light-houses and 

Rome, like the hub of a wheel which covered Europe, western Asia, 
and northern Africa, was the centre of a system of highways that 
extended to the confines of civilization. These were lined with guard 
and posting-houses, provided with relays of horses ready for imme- 
diate service, and patrolled by rural policemen. The highway that 
ended at Boulogne was continued at Dover and went beyond York, 
crossing the North Tyne by a stone bridge whose magnificent abut- 
ments were only laid bare to the antiquarian a third of a century back. 
Branching from this great highway were numerous others, which pen- 
etrated to all parts of Britain. These roads are still in use and up6n 
some of them yet stand the original milestones planted there seven- 
teen centuries ago. 

If we turn from the land to the sea we shall find similar marks of 
Roman industry and enterprise. There is not a branch of fishing 
which was not prosecuted. A Roman harpoon has been found in the 
skeleton of a whale 25 feet above the highest tides of the Forth, ' a 
proof that the animal met its death when the sea rose to the level in- 
dicated by the ruins of the Roman quay at Cramond.* Native oysters 
of Rutupiae or Richborough were packed in baskets and sent to Rome, 
where, as Juvenal tells us, they took high rank among the bivalves 
favoured by Italian epicures.* The cod, ling, salmon and herring fish- 
eries were all pursued on a large scale. Nothing escaped the Roman 
fisc. Even the size of the ox-hid6s received for taxes was narrowly 

Extensive remains of draining works in the Lincolnshire fens have 

•Scarth, iS. 

^ The Roman quay at Cramond (the Roman Alaterva) is 24 )i feet, in one place 26^ 
feet, above sea level. This is due to a gradual geological upheaval of the country, which 
has gone on from time immemorial and is still going on at an accelerated rate. For 
many centuries previous to 18 10 the annual vertical movement was about one-fifth of 
an inch; since that date it has amounted to one-half of an inch. These measurements 
have been ascertained from two interesting facts — first.the wall of Antoninus, originally 
carried to the sea-level, now comes to an end at a point 26 feet above high tide (Emil 
Reclus); second, the position of the skeleton of a whale, mentioned in the text. 

'Satires, iv, line 141. * Tacitus, Annals, Lxxii. 


rewarded the search of antiquarians." The prosecution of these 
works by the Romans evince the scarcity and high value of farm-lands, 
which again attest the large area already under culture and the am- 
plitude of the agricultural product. River embankments known to be 
Roman, to-day line the shores and help to confine the waters of the 
Thames, Ouse and other streams. Mills, smelting-furnaces, forges, 
smithies, machine-shops, armouries and industrial works of various 
kinds, arose on all sides. Around these works grew villas, towns and 
cities, many of the former, in a more or less ruined condition, still 
surviving. Within the cities were erected citadels, temples, basilicae, 
fountains, baths, pavements, sewers, statues, shrines and other pub- 
lic works of use or embellishment. In short, as Mr. Kendrick says 
of Roman York, **The antiquities comprehend all the apparatus of 
a civilized and even luxurious life; and show that side by side with 
the troops of the garrison, an industrious and wealthy population had 
formed itself." 

It is important to observe that the Romans who went to Britain were 
not obliged to resign themselves to a life in the bush. Britain was 
but little like the other provinces. Its inhabitants were more secure 
from the vicissitudes of war than those nearer the capital ; they were 
surrounded with similar conveniences, advantages and opportunities ; 
they were governed by the same laws and could appeal to the same 
gods. The visitor who saunters through a British museum of antiqui- 
ties cannot fail to be impressed with the immense number and variety 
of objects made of every possible material, such as gold, silver, cop- 
per, lead, iron, steel, brass, bronze, tin, wood, ivory, tortoise-shell, 
mother-of-pearl, horn, bone, jet, stone, glass, clay, terra-cotta, wool, 
silk, flax, hemp, leather, and feathers. Many of these articles, es- 
pecially the smaller ones, may have been made in Italy or Gaul ; most 
of them must have been made in Britain. Look at the remains of the 
magnificent temples, basilicae, theatres, and baths, at York, Silches- 
ter, Lincoln, Wroxeter, Bath, St. Albans, and Chichester. These stones 
were evidently cut in Britain, they evince not only skill and taste, but 
also the employment of capital wherewith to purchase the materials 
and pay the artists and labourers who cut them. Villas with ten to 
forty apartments, the roofs covered with copper-plate or sheet-lead, 
the court-yards decorated with fountains and pictures, the interiors 
warmed with hypocausts, the whole drained by spacious sewers, have 
been found in many places, for example, at Lincoln, Wroxeter, Cor- 

10 «• Our bodies are worn out in clearing woods and draining marshes." Galcagus 
to the Caledonians. Tac, Agric, xxxi. 


lingham, Chetworth, Thorpe, Silchester, Cirencester and Bignor. All 
these works must have been the product of provincial skill or industry. 

The Romans could hardly have failed to discover the advantages 
inrhich the humid climate of Britain afiforded in the spinning of such 
textiles as wool and silk. Woolen-mills were worked at Winchester 
and at all other places that possessed available water powers; and it 
is not too much to suppose that the texture made of these materials, 
which Pliny mentions under the name of bombacine and which still 
g^oes by that name, was largely made in Britain. • Certain compara- 
tively obscure products must alone have been sufficient to employ a 
large number of workmen. In the recesses of the Mendip Hills re- 
mains have been found which indicate that, as, in America, at the 
present time, the mines were lighted with candles. Mining was con- 
<lucted upon so extensive a scale in Roman Britain that the manu- 
facture of candles must have formed no small industry. Beer was 
then as now, the chief beverage of the workmen. The breweries must 
therefore have been numerous and important. Remains of tasselated 
pavements and mosaic works have been found in such quantities as 
to bespeak a body of artists and an organized industry, of no mean 

The foreign commerce of provincial Britain, though for a long pe- 
riod carried exclusively in Roman bottoms, was of great dimensions. 
It extended to Ireland, Gaul, Spain, and Italy, on the one side; and 
to Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Zealand, on the other. Romano- 
British remains have been found in all these places. In the reign of 
Augustus a Roman fleet visited the principal parts of the North and 
Baltic seas, and not improbably collected the information which fur- 
nished the ground-work for the ** Germania " of Tacitus. The chief 
commerce of Roman-Britain was of course with the mother country, 
and much of this was conducted overland through Gaul by way of 
Boulogne or Calais and Marseilles. The exports of Britain were chiefly 
tin, gold, silver, jet-goods, pearls, lead, chalk, timber, masts and spars 
for ships, corn, hides, peltries, dried-fish, oysters and hunting-dogs, 
of which last, Britain produced a race much esteemed in Rome. The 
imports consisted of gold coins, bronze ** S C *' money, salt, silk,fine 
pottery, bronze weapons, tools, implements, utensils, ornaments, and 
trinkets,ivoryand other fancy goods, steel weapons and cutlery, works 
of art, plants, seeds, wines, and dried fruits. 

The details of this trade doubtless greatly varied from time to time. 
Many commodities, especially those made of bronze or copper, which 
at first were wholly imported, appear to have been afterward manu- 


factured in Britain and eventually became profitable to export. Such 
seems to have been the case with glass and glasswares. During the 
first centuries of the Roman establishment in Britain it is probable 
that the imperial fisc managed to carry out its colonial policy pretty 
rigidly, and this was to monopolize the supply of manufactures for 
the province. After that time, the province appears to have gained 
some commercial freedom, only to lose it again at a subsequent pe- 
riod. The exports of gold from Britain were comparatively small, 
and after the alluvions were exhausted they rapidly diminished. Those 
of pearls were never important. The corn trade grew to such con- 
siderable dimensions that in the reign of Julian the Roman troops on 
the continent were supplied with no less than eight hundred cargoes, 
of grain from Britain, in a single season. The size of the ships em- 
ployed in this trade can only be conjectured. Zosimus, (lib. iii,) in- 
forms us that they were larger than common barks. 

Edicts were issued by Augustus and Claudius, and probably by all 
the sovereign-pontiffs of Rome, which forbade any kind of bronze 
money from being used in the provinces, except that which was struck 
by the government at Rome. As such money formed the commonest 
medium of exchange, this regulation must have had a powerful influ- 
ence upon the afifairs of Britain. This subject will be discussed in 
another place. During the sixteenth century similar restraints were 
imposed by the Spanish government upon the colonies in Mexico and 
Central and South America. This unwise example was afterwards 
followed by Great Britain with reference to its colonies in North 
America, a policy that led to the establishment of unlawful banks, un- 
lawful mints, and the coinage of Pine-tree shillings. Efforts of the 
Crown to suppress these establishments first gave birth to that popular 
irritation and defiance of the royal authority in Massachusetts, which 
eventuated in the Outbreak of 1775." What followed the adoption 
of this policy in Roman Britain does not appear from any extant texts ; 
we only know that about A. D. 280 there was a revolt and (for the first 
time) a provincial mint. 

The industrial classes of the Romans in Britain embraced farmers, 
herdsmen, clerks, merchants, manufacturers, miners, tradesmen, me- 
chanics, labourers, fishermen, carriers, publicans, apothecaries, porters, 
stevedores, marketmen, hucksters, shipbuilders, sailors, and others. 
Barbers, bathers, and domestic servants, were very numerous. The 

'* This policy is now abandoned. Local mints exist in both India and Australia. 
Nevertheless, through the operation of the Acts of 1666 and 181 2, the control of the 
monetary system still remains with the mercantile community of London. On this sub- 
ject consult the author*s ** History of Money in America." 


merchants seem to have been specialized almost as much as tney are 
at the present day, except perhaps in very large cities. For example, 
in 1647, a Roman votive altar was discovered near Domburg, in Zea- 
land, which had been erected by Silvanus Secundus, evidently a Ro- 
man citizen of Gothic descent, who described himself as a ^'Brittian 
chalk merchant."" 

Next in social importance to the merchants, and in later and more 
degenerate times, before them, ranked the money-brokers, who ex- 
changed the over- valued ** S C" bronze money minted in Rome and 
used in Britain, for the gold and silver bullion intended for export, or 
the gold and silver coins employed in commerce. There was a bank- 
ing class in Rome, but it was probably absorbed by the Pontificate 
before Britain was permanently settled. A governmental Monetary 
Commission, consisting of three bankers, was formed so early as B. C. 
218. Six years later, a fire which broke out near the Forum, destroyed 
several banking-houses. In the reign of Augustus certain of these in- 
stitutions were called the New Banks. In that of Tiberius a monetary 
stringency resulted in the establishment of a pontifical bank with a 
capitalofonehundredthousandgreatsestercesandpower to lend money 
on the security of lands worth double the sum loaned. After this time 
we hear no more of banks until the fall of the Sacred empire in 1204. 
During the intervening centuries the monetary system of the empire 
was substantially in the hands of the sovereign-pontiff; who thus be- 
came the Sole banker of Europe. The sacred character which the Ro- 
man religion attached to gold, enabled the Sacred emperor to preserve 
this and a few other regalian rights from being exercised by the pro- 
consuls or feudal princes,and in his palsied hands they remained until 
the last. 

The learned professions in Britain included the church — that is to 
say, bishops, curates, augurs, clerks, monks, and other ecclesiastics — 
the law, medicine, surgery, the army, the navy, astronomy, astrology^ 
pedagogy, natural sciences, civil and mining engineering,architecture, 
literature, sculpture, painting,music,engraving,die-sinking, lapidary- 
work, the drama, oratory, and other avocations. The Roman law was 
too ample, intricate, and refined to be administered without the aid of 
a regularly constituted bench, and a faculty of advocates, students, 
notaries, and other officials; and these may therefore be safely in- 
cluded among the professions practised in Britain. Papinian, one of 
the ablest lawyers of Rome, was in the train of Septimius Severus, and 

" Wright's •* Celt. Roman, and Saxon." Mr. Wright has translated " Brittian " as 
•* British," but both Prof, de Vit's exposition and the fact that the altar relates to the 
arrival of a cargo of chalk prove that it relates to Briltia, or Jutland, and not to Britain. 


he officiated as advisor to the emperor's son, Geta. During the ab- 
sence of the emperor in North Britain, Geta acted as Legate at York, 
where Papinian is believed to have founded a law university ; for there 
lingered in that capital a school of Roman law in 639, which we hear 
of again in 804. Papinian's university, if it ever existed, must have 
soon dropped into ecclesiastical hands, and from an university fallen 
to the rank of a canonical college. Even during the interval when 
Britain freed itself from the dominion of Rome, the ancient laws 
prevailed, only now they were modified and administered by local 
authorities. When Christianity was introduced, the Roman authority 
and the Roman laws were restored and made permanent. That these 
laws afforded to the citizen, if not liberty, at least an ample measure 
of security, is the opinion of Mr. Coote, himself a lawyer and a close 
student of the Roman antiquities of Britain. 

Medicine has left memorials at Colchester, where Doctor Hermo- 
genes has perpetuated his name and title upon an altar, and at House- 
steads, in Northumbria, where a monumental stone commemorates a 
young medical practitioner named Anicius. Navigation is evidenced 
not only by the fact that a regular commerce was carried on in sailing- 
vessels with the Baltic and Mediterranean ports, but also by the cir- 
cumstance that iEsclepiodotus,a military praefect and naval lieutenant 
under Constantius, conducted his fleet from lessoriacum (Boulogne) 
to Britain, in a storm, and with a side wind: thus proving that ships 
at that time could sail on a bow-line. This is a refinement in navigation 
which at a later period the Norsemen copied from the Romans. Mean- 
while, whenever the wind was not aft, the early Norse navigatoris were 
obliged to use their sweeps as a means of propulsion. Mr. Coote claims 
that many of the nautical terms in use at the present day had a Roman 
origin; an opinion to which Roman proficiency in navigation lends 
great plausibility. 

Astronomy was cultivated with much assiduity by the learned classes 
of Rome and her provinces. They were the inheritors of the entire 
body of Oriental and Greek learning on this subject. Thales had 
demonstrated the sphericity of the earth ; Pythagoras had calculated 
its motions; Meton had his name attached to the Indian cycle, which 
was employed to foretell eclipses; Eratosthenes, by actually measur- 
ing the arc of a meridian, determined the circumference of the earth 
at 252,000 stadii, or about 28,000 English miles; Strabo alluded to 
its sphericity as a well-known fact; and Pliny, whose Natural History 
must have been in the library of every cultivated person in Britain, 
said: **I do not suppose that the land is actually wanting, nor that 


the earth has not the form of a globe, but that on each side, the un- 
inhabitable parts have not yet been discovered. " The work of Ptolemy 
the Younger also maintained that the earth was spherical. Indeed, 
ages before this time, Herodotus had remarked that the sphericity of 
the earth was a belief derived from astronomical observation, which 
was yet to be verified by an actual voyage." If the Romans did not 
make such a voyage, they nevertheless coasted along the south of Asia 
to Ceylon, and the north of Europe to the vicinity of Bergen ; whilst 
they coasted the shores of eastern Africa as far south as the Mozam- 
bique. They also bequeathed to the Norsemen the belief in spher- 
icity, as well as the practical art of sailing on a bow-line; and the 
latter, by the aid of both the belief and the invention, crossed the 
Atlantic ocean and discovered Greenland and America. Says the 
Ynglinga Saga, a work of the ninth century : * * The round of the earth 
on which men dwell is much cut by the sea, large seas stretch from 
the outer sea round the earth, into the land. '* " 

That intoxication of religious belief which enabled a Greek or an 
Italian to worship images, provided their names and attributes were 
changed to suit the prevailing mythology, seems to have been entirely 
foreign to the provincials of Britain. There, the large admixture of 
Norse blood kept the people sober, and when emperor-worship and 
other paganisms came to an end, nearly everything was destroyed 
which perpetuated the ancient idolatries. Hence the few sculptures 
or castings that remain. Among these must be included the fine bronze 
head of Hadrian recovered from the Thames and now in the British 
Museum. The statues of the other gods were destroyed, broken to 
pieces, melted down, or cast it into the rivers. The Mithraic monu- 
ments at York and Newcastle are chiefiy of the third century, which 
is probably also the aera of the Mithraic cave at Barcovicus. Their 
rudeness proves that they were not sculptured for the established 
church of that period, but for the people." 

''Herodotus, Melpomene, 8. 

'^ Ynglinga Saga, chap. i. In the twelfth century the Norsemen erected the follow- 
ing remarkable monument on the western shores of the Atlantic ocean. It was a stone 
slab, found in 1824, on the island of Kingiktorsoak, in Baffin's Bay, latitude 72 degrees 
54 seconds, longitude 56 degrees west of Greenwich, the inscription being in runes: 


** Eriing Sighvatsson and Bjarni Thordasson and Eindrid Oddsson on Laugarday, (an- 
other name for Saturday) before Gangday, raised these marks and cleared the ground, 
1135'* (Bishop Percy*s Supplement to Mallet's ** Northern Antiquities.'* p. 24S). 

" See the altars to these gods in the Catalogue of the Blackgate Museum, at Newcastle. 




Universality of the Roman language — Of the Civil Law — Of the ancient religion and 
government — These were impersonal institutes under the Commonwealth — They be- 
came personal and local ones under the empire — Yet long after the establishment of 
the empire the ancient influences prevailed — Example from the tenure of lands — ^The 
empire introduced feudalism — Yet feudalism did not assume characteristic forms until 
near the period of the Gothic revolts — Same with the Augustan religion — Reason why 
Romano- British antiquities evince artistic degeneration — No evidences of degeneration 
in the social state of Britain — Moral attributes of the Romano- British — No archaeological 
evidences of Christianity in Britain during the Roman aera. 

THE Roman language was one and wherever the legions penetra- 
ted, the native tongues soon fell into disuse and gave place to the 
sonorous and flexible speech of the conquerors. When, centuries later, 
the Roman towns were governed by provincial Gothic chieftains, lan- 
guage afiforded to the vanquished imperialists a refuge which their 
ramparts had denied. The conflict of tongues, though fierce at first, 
soon resulted in grinding to pieces the Gothic upon the polished sur- 
face of the Latin; and the English of to-day at once attests and meas- 
ures the supremacy of the latter.* 

The Roman law was one, and it prevailed over the whole empire. 
It was embalmed in written codes of high antiquity and gradual growth, 
the result of many ages of practical experience and refinement in the 
administration of justice. It was open to all, it proclaimed the rights 
of all, it refused protection to none.* It not only defined the rights 
of Romans, it determined the relations between Romans and others; 
and thus, except in strictly local cases, it concerned the entire popu- 
lation of the empire. 

' Because the Gothic words ox, sheep, and calf express live animals, and the Latin 
words beef, mutton, and veal express dead ones, the pitiful inference has been made 
of virility in one language, and of poverty and exhaustion in the other. But this is so 
far from being true that the Gothic language, in its barrenness, had no words to dis- 
tinguish the flesh of these animals from their living bodies, whilst the Latin language, 
in its ample wealth, had both. See De Quincey, xiv, 151, as to the great value of our 
Roman inheritance of language. 

' ** It granted equal rights to all, and closed against none the path of honourable 
ambition." Bryce, Holy Roman Empire, p. 370. 


At the period of the provincial revolts in Britain, the Roman law 
was pagan, it consisted of ancient acts of the Comitia or of the Senate, 
or of both combined, of imperial ordinances and rescripts, of ecclesi- 
astical regulations,' of the equity of the praetors, and of other juridical 
materials. The amplitude and complexity of this vast body of law 
unfitted it for use by the provincials. After an abortive attempt to* 
rule the provinces by means of the mixed codes that had grown up 
since their conquest, Theodosius met their wants more fitly by pro- 
mulgating a simpler code, which they utilized for the basis of their 
subsequent legislation. However, this too gave way at last to the older 
Roman law. 

Whilst the Roman language and the civil law were the same in all 
parts of the empire, the Roman imperial religion gave rise to a degree 
of discontent which was unknown to the polytheistic religions of the 
Commonwealth. Whilst the language and the civil law were imper- 
sonal and the circuit courts carried the administration of the latter 
into every comer of the Roman world, the imperial canon law was- 
essentially personal and local. It emanated from, and centered in, the 
city of Rome; it bound the people, not by mutual obligations to each 
other in all places, but in fealty and service to the sovereign-pontiff 
at Rome; it permitted the worship of ancient gods and local deities, 
but only in the manner and with the ritual prescribed at Rome. The 
Latin language and the civil law were of the highest antiquity, they 
came from the Commonwealth. The imperial government was a new 
establishment, and the canon law was greatly altered after the apo- 
theoses of Julius Caesar and Augustus. The former arose from the 
people, belonged to the people, and kept the people together; the 
latter arose from the sovereign-pontiff, belonged to the sovereign- 
pontiff, and kept the people apart. Before the creation of the hier- 
archical empire, the citizen consulted the laws to ascertain the rights 
he possessed and the obligations he owed to his fellowmen; after the 
establishment of the empire he needed only to study those that af- 
fected his relations to the long line of suzerains which ascended to 
and ended with the sovereign-pontiff. 

Yet, so slow is the march of innovation, that several centuries elapsed 
after the Roman constitution was changed by Julius Caesar, before 

' The Roman canon law, even after the expulsion of the kings, largely trenched upon 
the Civil Code, through its hold upon the Code of Procedure and the pontifical control 
of the calendar. All this was broken down in A. U. 449 by the cunile aedile Caius Flavius, 
whose name should ever be held in veneration by the lovers of freedom. Livy, ix, 46. 
But what was gained for the popular cause by Caius Flavius was lost again when Julius 
Caesar crushed the liberties of the Roman world. 


the influence of its old republican legislation was entirely lost. Take, 
for example, the feudal system. It can be shown that this must neces- 
sarily have begun its growth on the day that Julius Caesar was apotheo- 
sized; feudalism and hierarchical government being essentially re- 
lated. Proconsular government, vicarious government, renewable 
kingships or dukedoms, telescopic or involved castes of nobility, 
tenures of land other than complete ownership, tenures on condition 
of performing military or other service to any other person than the 
Head of the State — all these are feudal, they are the necessary con- 
sequence of hierarchical government, and have followed it wherever 
it has been established; whether in Roman Europe, Brahminical Hind- 
ostan, or Aboriginal Mexico. Josephus has transmitted to us the 
texts of several charters granted by Julius Caesar himself, which are 
essentially and undeniably feudal.* Why, then, if feudalism was es- 
tablished with the hierarchy, did it not immediately develope into that 
matured and complex system which it became after the provincial re- 
volts, and while yet many cities in Italy, Spain, Gaul and Britain 
remained in imperial Roman hands? Because of the influence of the 
ancient Commonwealth, whose laws and customs, despite the hier- 
archy, still maintained a secret hold upon, not merely the people, but 
their rulers, as well. 

It was the same with religion. The most ancient religion of Rome 
had for its core the worship of ancestors. Around this in time had 
clustered the religious myths of every race that Rome admitted into 
lier composite structure. Prominent among these were the Greek an- 
thropomorphic conceptions of the Sun, Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jove, 
Venus, Saturn, Earth and other heavenly bodies.* Beneath all lay 
liidden the subtle myths of Brahma and Buddha. Horsley gives a list 
of above one hundred and fifty minor deities to whom votive offer- 
ings were made in Britain and made in much the same way that similar 
offerings were afterwards made to the myriad saints of a later myth- 
ology. Indeed what the Romans meant by a minor god was very like 
what the medieval Christians meant by a ** saint." Horsley says 
nothing about the worship of those ancestral images, nor of the im- 
ages of their emperors, to whom the pious were taught to address 
their vows; perhaps because being commonly made of wax, they did 
not strictly come within the scope of ** antiquities." Yet, within a 
few miles of where this antiquarian composed his great work, he might 
have observed a striking instance of the persistency of religious cus- 

* Josephus, Antiquities, xiv, lo. 

* Uranus was not discovered (known as such) until 1781, nor Neptune until 1846. 


toms. In an obscure chamber of Westminster Abbey were grouped 
together a series of royal images in wax, which although of course 
not worshipped, were made in pursuance of that ancient Roman cus- 
tom, which religion had once enjoined and which, wherever the Roman 
religion had prevailed, had probably never fallen into disuse. In that 
chamber they remain to this day.* 

The religion established by Julius Caesar and afterwards by Augus- 
tus, was the worship of himself, as the son of God. Temples were 
erected to it in all parts of the empire; a vast body of priests and 
other officers were appointed to perpetuate its rites; innumerable 
benefices of lands were granted to its temples : immense sums of money 
were devoted to its support ; and the lex crimen majestatis was em- 
ployed to enforce its observances, and punish heretics. Yet in time 
it all fell so dead and flat beneath the contempt of the intellectual 
classes and the inveteracy of ancient custom, that only the lowest 
classes of Rome, the rabble, the pot-lickers, the corn-beggars, the 
dead-heads of the circus, could be depended upon for constancy to 
the new and repulsive creed; and even these classes, in the course of 
a few generations, had to have the nauseous dose sweetened by the 
worship of Julius Caesar, through Venus, and of Augustus, through 
Maia, his pretended mother. We find Tacitus, who was a priest of 
the Sacred College and therefore sworn to the maintenance of the 
Julian and Augustan worship, holding in fact to the ancient worship 
of Jupiter; Pliny swearing by Hercules; and Juvenal scoffing at both/ 
The better classes of Rome no more adopted emperor-worship than 
did the Jews, who would not have it in Palestine, nor the leseni un- 
der Boadicea,who marched to a certain death, rather than yield sup- 
port to its hated temples in Britain. We shall find this provincial 
hostility to emperor-worship of the highest importance in restoring 
the effaced outlines of early British history. 

The civil liberties of the Romans had begun to decline before the 
legions improved and fortified Britain; hence many of the extant Ro- 
man antiquities evince artistic degeneration; for art cannot survive 
the decay of liberty. Yet so slow was the progress of such degeneracy 

' Dean Stanley. 

^ " Hearest thou these things, O Jupiter, as if indeed thou wert made of bronze or 
marble ? As for thy effigies, I can perceive no difference between them and the statue 
of Bathyllus the Musician." Juv., Sat., xiii, 114. ** Our home-bred ancestors knew 
no better. Formerly there was no carousing among the gods, no Ganymede, nor Hebe 
to be cup-bearer; while Vulcan, not yet feigned to quaff celestial nectar, scoured from 
his arms the black marks of his Liparan forge. Each god then dined alone, and the 
present rout of divinities had no existence.*' Juv., Sat., x:ii, 40. 


that for more than a century after the Roman conquest, few or no 
-evidences of it are to be observed. The arts continued to flourish, 
life and property remained secure, the burdens imposed by the state 
<lo not appear to have occasioned any outcry or remonstrance, and 
but few irksome monopolies of trade existed. The metallic tribute 
•demanded from Britain, was more than supplied by the produce of 
her native mines, and both education and numerous social and 
industrial opportunities were open to every citizen, regardless of 
race or religion. Decay is first observable in the monuments of the 
second century. 

The pitiless mendacity of bigots has almost deprived the Romans 
•of moral character. Whether of Italy or Britain, they have rendered 
the name of Roman pagan, synonymous with everything that is vile. 
The bitter invectives of Juvenal, unmistakingly aimed at the abomi- 
nations of the capital, these bigots have applied to distant London 
xind York, which probably barely heard of them. In this manner they 
have blurred and falsified all the lines of history. But no unprejudiced 
person can read the fond and affecting inscriptions upon the ancient 
tombs and altars of Britain, without giving the provincial Romans 
credit for as much truth, love, and piety, as are to be gleaned from 
similarevidencesof ourown times. Mr.Wright publishes a great num- 
ber of these inscriptions, and the student who wishes to derive from 
original proofs a just estimate of Romano-British character, must read 
them for himself. Whatever may have been its rites, customs, or cere- 
monies, the monuments of Britain indicate that, in practice, the Roman 
religions promoted the observance of as much tenderness, filial affec- 
tion, benevolence, pity, charity, decency, and sobriety, as are known 
to prevail in the same places at the present day. There, indeed, came 
a time when all these moral traits grew fainter, and the social bond 
itself was dissolved ; but this appears to have been no more caused 
by the anciet beliefs, than the brutality and depravity of the middle 
ages were caused by Christianity. 

The names found upon the tombs and other remains of tfle Romans 
and provincials, afford, when rightly studied, a valuable guide in trac- 
ing the decline and extinction of liberty and its subsequent restoration 
after the Fall of the Eastern empire. The Roman ingenui, or free- 
born, had three several names, the praenomen, nomen, and cognomen.* 
The praemonen, or given name, was conferred, as now, by the priest- 
hood, upon the nomination of the parents. The nomen, or patronymic, 
was the name of the gens, tribe, or clan, to which the person belonged. 

^ Adams, ** Roman Antiquities.'* 


The cognomen, surname, or family name, was hereditary. Slaves had 
no family names. Both they and their children, together with what- 
ever they possessed, belonged to their owners ; slaves could transmit 
nothing, not even a name. Under the Commonwealth, they were com- 
monly called after their masters. Under the empire, they were some- 
times called after their country, as Danicus, Syrius, or Tagus; and 
sometimes by capricious or even derisive names. When manumitted, 
they commonly took the nomen of their masters, but not the cognomen. 
Upon the early Roman remains of Britain the occurrence of three 
names upon a tombstone is quite common; upon the later remains 
there are seldom more than two; and frequently but one name. From 
the establishment of the Medieval empire under Charlemagne to the 
Fall of Constantinople in the thirteenth century, the great mass of 
the people of Britain had no family names; a sure indication of their 
servile condition. 

Notwithstanding the many volumes that have been written on the 
subject, and in which the prevalence or practice of Christianity during 
the occupation of Britain by the Roman legions is assumed, no valid 
•evidences have been adduced in its support. No temple, no altar, no 
tombstone, no inscription, no book, no mark, no symbol of any kind, 
has yet been found which contains any certain evidence of, or illusion 
to, Christianity. The Romans entered Britain both before and after the 
beginning of our aera. They came not only from Rome and Byzantium, 
but also from numerous other parts of the empire. The temples and 
tombstones of the Romans, their altars, graves, personal relics, coins, 
furniture, decorations, all prove that Christianity was unknown. Down 
to the moment when the troops departed from Britain, the people 
ofiFered sacrifices and inscribed their last pious wishes to Jupiter, 
Bacchus, Serapis, or Mithra, gods who had been worshipped from 
very ancient times. The degrading worship of emperors had fallen 
into disuetude. Sir Francis Palgrave, after a careful examination of 
all the literary materials bearing upon the subject, finds no valid evi- 
dence that the British tribes ever heard of Christianity. The earliest 
evidences of Christianity in Britain relate to the romanized Britons, 
chiefly of the higher ranks, and (he might have added) therefore those ' 
to whom the official religion of emperor- worship was most repugnant.* 

The Rev. Dr. Bruce sums up the case in a few words." After ad- 
mitting the absence of any Christian memorials in the Roman remains 
he says: ** We meet the cross in several of its forms,but it is admitted 
on all hands that the cross and even the famed cipher p or X P are - 

•Palgrave*s "English Commonwealth," 1. 154. "Bruce, "The Roman Wall." p. 1 1. 


emblems older than Christianity. Their appearance on monuments 
prior to the time of Constantine cannot be regarded as emblems of 
the Christian profession. Neither do we meet with any other indica- 
tion of the adoption of the verities of revelation by the romanized 

Mr. Thomas Wright goes even farther than this and claims that 
Christianity 'was not known in Britain until a period much later than 
the Gothic revolts. **The rites of Odin or Wodin were brought by 
these barbarians from Scandinavia and the Continent; and an emi- 
nent antiquarian says that after the conquest of Britain, Saxon pagan- 
ism was everywhere substituted for Roman, and it was only perhaps 
in a few cases, chiefly, we may suppose in the towns, that individuals 
preserved for a while their respect for Roman gods, or their attach- 
ment to Roman ceremonies." After mentioning that in one case what 
at first sight, appeared to be Christian emblems, were found in a 
** clearly pagan interment " and in others, similar emblems with By- 
zantine and Frankish coins, cowries from the Orient and other articles 
imported from foreign countries, he disposes of the subject with the 
warning that, "approaches to the cross-shape in fibulae, ornaments, 
and safety-pins, worn on the person or attached to the clothing, found 
in Saxon graves, must not be taken to prove any connection with 
Christianity, " because the cross is much more ancient than Christianity, 
and because other and more convincingcircumstances prove the graves 
to be those of pagans. 

The substance of all the antiquarian evidence and of all the valid 
literary evidence on the subject is that Christianity did not make its 
appearance in Britain until the period of Pope Gregory's missionaries 
in the sixth century, and that it did not obtain a general footing in 
the Island before the aera of Charlemagne. When it did appear, it 
made its mark upon every institution of society. The distinguishing 
trait of the Christian religion— one that some doctors of divinity seem 
to have strangely overlooked — is its capacity of improvement, its 
adaptability to the ever changing conditions of society, and to the va- 
ried wants and aspirations of man. This is the Roman part of it, the 
legendary part is Buddhic, Gallic and Jewish; the ceremonies are 
drawn from many sources. All other religions are fixed, Christianity 
alone moves with the times. Brahminism, Brahma-Buddhism, Juda- 
ism, Mahometanism, all are fixed. The Brahmin cannot change his 
caste, nor the Brahmo-Buddhist his ** vehicle." The Judean dare not 
alter the law of Moses, nor the Moslem the Koran. But Christianity 
has changed an hundred times and will change an hundred more, a 


characteristic that is alone sufficient to ensure its survival when all 
codified religions shall be dead and forgotten." 

While it is denied that Christianity existed in Britain previous to the 
pontificate of Gregory, it is not meant that none of the symbols, nor 
ceremonies, now employed in religious worship existed before that 
time. On the contrary, many of these exoteric marks of religion were 
thus employed, but they are of extremely ancient date, they were em- 
ployed long before the Christian aera and they were continued to be 
employed afterwards; so that their employment by one sect or an- 
other has been continuous for twenty or thirty centuries. Therefore 
they cannot with propriety be adduced to prove either the introduc- 
tion or the establishment of Christianity." 

" Contrasting the rules for burnt offerings and sacrifices in Leviticus with their rejec- 
tion in Psalms, Li, i6, Prof. Max MttUer says: " There is growth here, as evident as 
can be, however difficult it may be to some students of religion to reconcile the idea of 
growth with the character of a revealed religion." Origin and Growth of Religion, p. 134. 
As with language, so *' religion also has been shown to exhibit a constant g^rowth and 
developement,its very life consisting in a discarding of decayed elements,which is neces- 
sary in order the better to maintain whatever is still sound and vigorous. ... A religion 
that cannot change . . . isswept away violently in the end." p. 263. . . . **A religion 
which is not able to grow and live with us as we grow and live, is dead already." 
p. 380. It is to be regretted that after opening this great subject, so talented and influ- 
ential a writer should have trifled with its conclusions, in the manner shown a little 
further on in the same work. 

** For crucifixes deposited in the ancient temples of Benares and Mathura and other 
temples on the Ganges, see Maurice's Indian Antiquities, 11, 361 ; for allusion to ancient 
crosses in the Serapion and other temples on the Nile,see the works of Godfrey Higgins, 
Rev. R. Taylor, Rev. A.Hislop,Rev.Dr.Reeves,and Sir Wm. Hamilton. Nearly every 
Egyptian representation of a god (there are hundreds of them in the British Museum) 
holds a crucifix, or crook, and often both of these sacred symbols, in his hand. These 
works of art are ascribed to aeras many centuries B. C. There are Gallo-Greek coins 
in the same collection, with large crosses conspicuously displayed upon them, belonging 
to the fourth and fifth centuries B. C. The Ptolemaic Egyptian coins are also stamped 
with crosses as sacred symbols. There are Roman coins older than the Christian sera 
which display the cross surmounting the sacred hat of the pontifex maximus. Indeed, 
it is well known now that crosses, in common with the various sacred symbols, not only 
of Christianity, but also of other religions, were used very anciently in the same way, 
and often with the same meanings that they still retain. The sacerdotal punishment 
of crucifixion is mentioned in Greek and Roman laws enacted long previous to the 
Christian sera, and it is evident that there could have been no crucifixion without a cross. 
Astyges crucified the magi. Herodotus, Clio, 128. ** Inarus, king of the Libyans, was 
betrayed by treachery and fastened to a cross." Thucydides. (Smith's ed..) p. 85. The 
use of the cross as a symbol of immortality is as ancient as the belief in the incarnation 
of lesDU or Vishnu, that is to say, from twelve to fifteen centuries B. C. 




Three seras of Romano-British progress — Absolute proctorship of the proconsuls-^ 
The procurators — Agricola*s proconsulship^Construction of the Inner Wall — Circum- 
navigation of Britain — Conquest of Ireland — Commerce of London — Successors of 
, Agricola — The two races of native Britons — Extinction of the Gaelic natives — The 
Roman conscription — Construction of the Outer Wall — Zenith of provincial prosperity 
— Frequent revolts of the Norse-Britons against emperor-worship and proconsular 
exactions — Irregular pay of the legions — Desertions — Rising of the Norse Maeatae — 
Retnoval of Roman merchants to Gaul — Diminished commerce of the province — The 
emperor Commodus — The Norse-Britons force the Outer Wall — Mutiny of the troops 
— Perrenius — Pertinax — Albinus — Disorders of the empire — Virius Lupus — Subdi^- 
sion of Britain — The Norse- Britons again force the Outer Wall — They exact ** Dane- 
geld " — Septimius Severus defeats them — Further disorders of the empire — The Maeatae 
again — Roman Britain governed at Treves — Defects of this system — The fleet stationed 
at Boulogne — Sack of London, circ. 280— The Moesian and Thracian Goths. 

THE archaeological remains of Roman Britain roughly indicate 
three periods or phases of developement through which its civ- 
ilization passed before the occurrence of the great provincial revolts. 
From the landing of Aulus Plautius to the government of Agricola, 
(an interval of less than half a century,) was a period of exploration 
and settlement. From Agricola to the Mutiny in 187, an interval of 
about a century, was a period of growth. Between the mutiny of 
the troops and the provincial risings there elapsed two centuries of 
relative decay. One-half of this period, brings us down to that Sack 
of London which is treated in the present chapter: the other half of 
the period marks the downfall of pagan imperial rule. 

The revolt of Boadicea is attributed by Tacitus chiefly to two causes : 
First, her father, Prasutagus, kingof thelesenimanni, leseni, or Iceni, 
had amassed considerable wealth, which he left ''by his will to his 
two daughters and the emperor, in equal shares '* ; but, upon his death, 
the imperial procurator, disregarding the will, seized the estate for the 
Crown, and let loose a band of soldiers upon the property, who not 
only pillaged and devastated it, but committed the most cruel and 
dastardly outrages upon the persons of his wife and daughters. Second, 
**the temple erected to the deified Claudius, which to the eyes of the 
Britons seemed the citadel of eternal slavery,and the priests appointed 


to officiate at the altars, who, with a pretended zeal for religion, de* 
voured the entire substance of the country." * 

Assuming that Prasutagus was, like Cogidanus of Britain, Ptolemy 
of Egypt, Antipater and Herod of Judea, Deiotaurus of Galatia, Tiri- 
dates of Parthia, etc., a vassal king, his estate legally reverted, at 
death, to the emperor of Rome. His people, in refusing to yield it 
peaceably to the imperial procurator, therefore placed themselves in 
the wrong. The acts of violence and rapine that followed, were the 
usual consequences of vassalian resistance! Like Montezuma, fifteen 
centuries later, Prasutagus probably thought but lightly of the flatter- 
ing compact which named him the ''ally,'* whilst it really made him 
the vassal of Rome; and it was an ill turn of fate that compelled his 
hapless wife and daughters to expiate so cruelly what was at worst 
but the blunder of an unlettered and semi-civilized chieftain. 

The erection of a temple to the deified Claudius in the principal city 
of the leseni, placed the Romans in the wrong. After making every 
allowance for that zeal of proselytism, which, whether pagan or Christ- 
ian, has ever distinguished the imperial church of Rome, this act 
constituted an unnecessary and gratuitous insult to a conquered and 
unoffending people. Of course, the temple contained a statue of the 
god, and the leseni were doubtless obliged to revere and adore this 
detested idol whenever they passed it. More irritating than all, they 
were obliged to support its shiftless priesthood and their idle retinue 
of readers, clerks, and sacerdotal virgins. There was no excuse for 
the erection of this fane, there was no native idolatry (from the 
Roman point of view) to suppress; for the Romans themselves were 
divided into two religious sects, the polytheists and Julianists, the 
former of whom practised a religion which probably resembled that 
of the leseni. But the time was changed, it was the reign of Nero, him- 
self a deity of the Julian cult, and the Romans, who had formerly placated 
a conquered world in the name of Jove the Thunderer, now aroused 
it to indignation by demanding the worship of Claudius curruca,^ 

The revolt of the leseni has a deeper significance than has hitherto 
been imagined : it was the first protest of the English race against the 
hierarchy of Rome, and a slow but inevitable justice will one day raise; 
far above the statues of all its long line of saints and heroes, the mourn- 
ful but resolute figure of the martyred Boadicea.* 

Until Agricola completed the conquest of the Island, the Roman 

* Annals, xiv, 31. 'Juvenal, Satire vi, line 275, 

' The revolt of Julias Vindex in Gaul.which occurred a few years after that of Boadicea 
in Britain, seems to have been due to similar causes and to have ended thes ame way. 


soldiers were continually employed in expeditions against the natives, 
in the construction of forts, castles, and military roads, and in the 
establishment of mining works, plantations, and small settlements; 
and although they were aided by artificers from Gaul and by the rude 
labour of the enslaved natives, the work of the soldiers was intense 
and unremitting, and was not at all conducive to an amiable temper 
towards the conquered, especially those who differed from them in 
religious belief. There can be little doubt that the attitude of the 
Romans toward the South Britons was afterwards reflected with the 
greatest fidelity in the conduct of the Spaniards toward the aboriginal 
Mexicans and Peruvians. 

Beside the soldiers, the artificers, and the women, whom the former 
had chosen from among the natives,^ the Roman settlements at this 
early period probably embraced only the civil officers of government, 
the priesthood, a few exiles, and perhaps also some mining and com- 
mercial adventurers from Italy. In addition to military works, the 
betterments of the period were all of a temporary and makeshift char- 
acter, such as one sees at the present time in Western America : rough 
roads, staked camps, wooden shanties, ''prospecting holes," and a 
careless, expansive tillage. The principal city of the province was 
Camulodunum, whose restored temple, after the suppression of Bo- 
adicea*s revolt, was honoured with a statue of the deified Nero. It also 
contained a theatre and a public bath. At the same date Verulamium 
(near the modern St. Albans) was a municipal town with a castle. 

The occupation of Bath is assigned to so early a date as the year 55 
or 54, and that of Wroxeter to the year 69. The former date is deduced 
from Tacitus, the latter from the antiquities. Common sense must 
decide upon their historical significance. The temple, the statue of 
Nero, and the theatre,at Colchester, as well as the castle at St. Albans, 
may all have been of wood. Bath and Wroxeter may have been military 
posts, or mining camps. Twenty years* occupation of a wild country 
hardly affords time enough for the erection of permanent works or 
edifices. Boadicea's warriors, though destitute of military appliances 
of their own, appear to have had but little difficulty in destroying those 
of the Romans at Colchester. All these evidences indicate temporary 
works and structures. That the gold, silver, lead, and tin mines were 
worked during this period is evident from the pigs of lead, and silver- 
lead with the names of the emperors ** Claudius," ** Nero," ** Ves- 
pasianus," and ''Domitianus," cast upon them, and from the well- 
known order in which these metals are sought for; alluvial gold always 

^ Tacitus, Agricola, xxiii. 


preceding gold, silver, and lead in veins. But such early working of 
the mines only confirms the general rule that the period was one of 
exploration and settlement. We see the same thing to-day in South 
Africa. Insurances upon ships during the reign of Claudius and some 
other evidences of an apparently permanent state of affairs, are really 
invalid; because they belong not to Britain, but to Rome. The close 
of the exploring period is marked by the completion, in 78, of the great 
highways which had been commenced during the reign of Claudius. 
This was also the year in which Agricola, who had already once served 
in Britain, returned from Rome, this time to assume the proconsulship 
of the province. 

As the present work is designed rather to supplement than supplant 
the accepted histories, it is not necessary to repeat those evidences 
of executive ability which Tacitus has connected with the adminis- 
tration of his father-in-law. Other testimony assures us that the 
account is substantially true, and that Britain at this period, more 
than at any previous one, enjoyed the benefits of good government. 
With the retirement of Agricola, the affairs of the province experienced 
a great change. The proconsuls became in many ways essentially ab- 
solute. Like the emperors, their masters, they no longer obeyed the 
law, but made it. Proconsular law was theoretically subject to revision 
at Rome; but so long as it did not affect, or threaten to affect, the 
revenues of the fisc and the Sacred College, such revision was, in point 
of fact, but rarely made. Under the circumstances, it would be strange 
if the proconsular office did not succeed in appropriating for itself a 
share of the revenues subject to its sway. The mines probably sufficed 
to appease the demands of Church and State, but something more 
lucrative or productive than the mines was needed to satisfy the greed 
of a continual succession of necessitous proconsuls. Precisely the 
same sort of government was established a dozen centuries later in 
Spanish America, and we can trace, with the greatest assurance, the 
course of one by that of the other. It cannot be doubted that every 
sack of wool exported from Britain, every pipe of wine brought into 
it, every incident of commercial activity, was laden with a tax, imposed 
not so much to satisfy the demands of the imperial government, as 
the necessities or requirements of the proconsul. The fact that the 
office was regarded as a prize, to be contended for by politicians and 
court favourites, is in itself sufficient evidence of its profitable character. 

In 78-80 Agricola constructed his two great lines of fortification, 
constituting the Great Wall and ditch from the Tyne to the Solway. 
He also established many new ore-reduction works and mining towns 


in Britain. In the following year he attacked and subdued the Norse- 
men of Caledonia and strengthened that country with fortifications 
and intrenched camps, many of which afterwards developed into towns. 
In these operations he appears to have made such liberal use of the 
Gaelic Britons, both in erecting forts and in fighting the Norsemen, 
that the former, as a distinct race, disappeared from Roman history. 
* * From this time forward, when the Roman writers speak of the Britons 
who existed in the Island, as a people, they included under that name 
only the Caledonian tribes of the North."* This is a circumstance 
which modern historians have passed over far too lightly. The Gaelic 
tribes, the Druids, the worshippers of gods and the followers of rites 
foreign to the Romans, were put to the roughest work, worn out, de- 
stroyed, and their race exterminated. The men of the Norse tribes, 
not afield, were absorbed into the Roman legions and sent to distant 
provinces, in exchange for soldiers from other provinces who were sta- 
tioned in Britain. The Norsewomen within the lines were absorbed 
into Roman barracks and camps, to become the mothers of a new and 
mixed race, with Romance names, aptitudes, thoughts, passions, vir- 
tues, vices, merits, and defects. 

In 84, the last year of Agricola's government, his fleet sailed around 
the extremities of Scotland, and according to Tacitus, proved Britain 
to be an island. But in this respect the partiality of the historian has 
certainly misled him : because more than a century previously it had 
been described as an island by Caesar.' Tacitus himself, in another 
place, makes the natives allude to it as an island. Twenty years before 
Agricola's exploit the Usipian troops who, previous to Agricola's voy- 
age, had deserted from the Roman legions in Britain, and escaped to 
the Continent, appear to have sailed around the northern extremity 
of Scotland, and thus proved Britain to be an island.' 

Writing about the year 95, Tacitus alludes to London, as ^^ famous 
for its many merchants and stores of merchandise," from which it may 
be inferred either that London at this period was an emporium con- 
nected with the Baltic trade, or else that the population of Britain had 
been recently and largely recruited from the other Roman provinces; 
for the mere demands of the military establishment were hardly suf- 
ficient to create or sustain so great a mart. These recruits probably 
consisted in part of agriculturists from Scandinavia or the Low Coun- 
tries and artificers from Gaul. Judging from the description which 
Tacitus gives of the anarchical condition of Rome during the sover- 
eignty of Tiberius, many Italians of eminence and wealth, may have 

* Wright, 130. • De Bell. Gall., v, 12. ' Tacitus, Agricola, xxviii, 32. 


also been glad to escape from beneath the jealous and suspicious eyes 
of the imperial pontiff, and remove to a province distant enough to 
offer them a peaceful retreat and the security of social oblivion. 

The year 96 is assigned to that satire of Juvenal in which he alludes 
to Ireland and the Orkneys as recent acquisitions of the Roman arms : 
**Arma quidem ultra littora Juvernae promovimus, et mod6 captas^ 
Orcadas, ac minimi contentosnocteBritannos." ** Although our arms 
advance beyond Juverna's (Hibemia's) shores, though the Orcades 
(Orkneys) are just subdued."* 

The proconsular successors of Agricola were nearly all of them of 
the stamp previously indicated. SullustiusLucullus, by his exactions 
and tyranny, provoked a rising of the natives underArviragus. Neratius 
Marcellus provoked other risings, until at length the emperor Hadrian 
was induced to visit the province in person, A. D. 120, partly with a 
view to reform the abuses which had given rise to such dangerous 
insurrections. Among the other transactions of this monarch was 
the issue of a mandate to construct an Inner Wall^ namely, that one 
whose remains are still to be seen stretching from the Solway to the 
Tyne, or from near Carlisle' to Newcastle. 

In the same year Ptolemy published his Geography, which contains 
a list of Roman towns in Britain and a description of the native tribes. 
Many antiquarians have accepted both these data, as though they nec- 
essarily related to the same period, whereas, it is evident that, whilst 
a list of towns might be made in a few hours and compiled from very 
recent information, a description of uncivilized tribes was very likely 
to have been compiled from data several generations old. As a matter 
of fact, when Ptolemy's work was published there were no longer any 
Cantii, known as such, in Kent, nor Regni in Surrey, nor Belgae in 
Wessex, nor Trinobantes in Essex or Norfolk. All the natives within 
the Roman lines had become Romano-Britons; their tribal existence 
was effaced. A considerable proportion of themenhadbeentransported 
to distant provinces; their language was no longer spoken in Britain; 
scarcely a trace of it remained. The Welsh of the present time are 
not the ancient Britons of Britain, nor is their language British.* Such 
of the natives as were not wearing out a hopeless existence in the 
mines and quarries of Britain, or in stopping hostile arrows in Cale- 
donia, had been conscripted for the military service of Rome in distant 
lands. The Notitia mentions detachments of Britons in Egypt, Ar- 
menia, Spain, Illyricum, Pannonia, Gaul, Italy, and other countries; 
and in view of Rome's habitual policy in this respect, it cannot be 

• Satire 11, 159. • Wright, 219, 401. 


doubted that the deportation of all Britons of the military ages and 
their replacement by aliens was begun from the moment that Agricola 
completed the conquest of the province. 

At the outset, the Norse-Britons willingly supplied the Romans with 
new levies; they even paid their tributes with alacrity"; but when 
they perceived that these tributes were devoted to the support of a 
detested idolatry, and when the conscription threatened to withdraw 
all their youth to distant realms and the tributes were supplemented 
by proconsular exactions and oppressions, these natives fled from the 
Romans to the rude but friendly fastnesses of Caledonia, and, sum- 
moning to their aid their relatives in the Norse lands, boldly made 
war upon the oppressors. Over and over again, were the allies de- 
feated by the legions, but, nothing daunted, the Norse British and 
Caledonians, imbued with a high resolve, and fired with the prospect 
of plunder, continued to attack, until, as we shall see, they eventually 
prevailed." The medieval monks, not suspecting the true causes of 
these uprisings, have invented what is called the Anglo-Saxon con- 
quest to supplement the withdrawal of the imperial forces from the 
Island. When this portion of the history of England comes to be 
further dealt with, we shall see which account is the more reliable. 

In 140 Lollius Urbicus reconstructed the Outer Wall. This work 
connected together the line of forts previously constructed by Agricola, 
and stretched from the firth of Forth to that of Clyde. It sufficed to 
keep in check the fierce tribes who dwelt to the northward, and who, 
although their land had been over-run and fortified by Agricola, had 
never wholly lost its possession, and only awaited a suitable oppor- 
tunity to drive the Romans back and resume its entire dominion. 
Such an opportunity occurred in 161, upon the accession of the em- 
peror Marcus Aurelius,*' but the insurgents were checked by the new 
proconsul, Aufidius Victorinus, and we hear of no further attempts 
of this kind, until some twenty years later. 

*° Tacitus, Agricola, xni. 

*^ A pious invention of modern date has ascribed the first payment of Rome-scat to 
Ina, king of Wessex, but the term betrays the fiction. Wherever Christianity was estab- 
lished, scats ceased to be issued and pence took their place. Rome-scat was the tax 
paid to the pagan church of Rome. When the christianized church controlled the 
revenues, that is to say, in Britain after the death of Maurice, there was no more Rome- 
scat; its new name was Peter's pence, and it was Peter's pence, and not Rome-scat, 
that Ina paid. The old name might have hung on for a while longer, especially in 
remote places, but it substantially perished with the issue of the scat itself. 

'' Marcus Aurelius promoted a ** revival " of the Julian religion by requiring himself 
to be worshipped as god. This may have had no little to do with the insurrection of 
the Goths. 


This period has been taken to mark the zenith of Roman imperial 
power generally throughout the empire. A similar point was probably 
not reached in Britain by itself until the mutiny of 187. After the 
death of Marcus Aurelius in 180, the exactions and oppressions of 
the proconsuls, which his vigorous reign had partly arrested, were 
renewed, and extended toward the colonists, as well as the natives. 
In consequence of this policy, the citizens and traders who, within 
thirty years after London was destroyed by Boadicea, had assisted 
to make it ** famous for its many merchants and stores of merchan- 
dise, " now began to desert it and remove to Gaul, which being a much 
more extensive province and not so far removed from imperial super- 
vision, afforded less scope for proconsular avidity and oppression. 

This movement was greatly hastened by the Mutiny and the feeling 
of insecurity which a consideration of its causes evoked. It is well 
known that the legions were irregularly and insufficiently paid. As 
they were composed almost entirely of aliens having no especial affec- 
tion for Rome, many of the soldiers deserted to the enemy, among 
whom the chance of plundering the Roman settlements seemed more 
promising than that of receiving their arrears of pay." These deserters 
taught their allies how to make and use Roman weapons and the Ro- 
man art of fighting in column, and it was probably owing to their 
disclosures concerning the defences of the Roman settlements, that 
larger reinforcements of the Goths were attracted from Norway, with 
the view to make a combined attack upon the province. The new- 
comers were called by the Latinized name of Maeatse. They seem to 
have been well accustomed to the water, for Dion Cassius gives them 
credit for being able to live in the marshes for several days at a time, 
and with little more than their heads above the surface. Mr. Wright 
is of opinion that the Maeatse were Norsemen, and this appears to have 
been that of Bishop Stillingfleet and others, among them, Dr. Russell, 
who, as before stated, extended it to the Picts." Some of these au- 
thorities based their conclusions upon archaeological data; the others 
upon philological and ethnical grounds. Whoever the Maeatae were, 
they evidently meant mischief: for they had the temerity to assemble 
under the Outer Wall, where they rattled their ringed spears in the 
faces of the legionary troops and dared them to leave their ramparts 
and fight them in the open. 

The intelligence that a numerous force of well-armed and deter- 

" On the ah'en and mercenary character of the Roman forces in Britain, see the 
speech of Galcagus to the Caledonians, in Tacitus, Agricola, xxxii. 
" Hist. Europe, i, 43. 


mined insurgents had encamped close to the Wall gave great alarm 
to the inhabitants of the Roman towns and hastened that removal to 
Gaul of the commercial and artisan classes which had already begun. 
This exodus of industrious people compelled the lords who lived 
upon country estates to make preparations for their own security, by 
strengthening, fortifying, and provisioning their habitations, until 
they came to possess many of those self-contained attributes which 
distinguished the castles of that later period with which history has 
rendered us more familiar. 

In 183, upon the accession of Commodus to the pontifical and im- 
perial crown, the Norse-Britons scaled the Outer Wall, cut the frontier 
guards to pieces, and ravaged the entire country between that and the 
Inner Wall. Northumbria was lost to the empire in a single night. 
This was the heaviest blow which the Roman power had ever received 
in Britain, and it led to other catastrophies. It showed the northern 
tribes that the empire was not invulnerable, and that its mercenary 
troops, though Romanized, were still aliens, with no greater love for 
their employment than what was excited by the hopes of pay. On 
the other hand, the plunder carried off by the Norsemen taught the 
troops that treason and desertion were much more profitable than 
fidelity to Rome. 

After the reverse at the Outer Wall, a new viceroy, Ulpius, was ap- 
pointed, the Roman forces were shifted, veterans were sent to the 
front and the Norsemen were driven back beyond the Wall. But no 
sooner was this object accomplished than Ulpius was displaced by a 
new imperial favorite, named Perennius, who, upon his arrival in Brit- 
ain, changed many of the commanders and attempted to enforce meas- 
ures so distasteful to the troops as to occasion a Mutiny. Among these 
measures none was more likely to drive the legions to such an extremity 
than their payment in silver-plated iron coins. A large number of 
such coins, stamped with effigies of Claudius and other previous em- 
perors, and packed in tiers, as though they had been imported into 
Britain from abroad, were found in London during the early part of 
the present century, when King William Street was being laid out. 
Mr. Wright is of the opinion that they were employed for the payment 
of the troops, and no period seems more appropriate to assign to this 
use, than the period previous to the Mutiny of the year 187. 

Although the emperor hastened to repair the error he had made in 
appointing Perennius to the proconsulship, by sacrificing that unfor- 
tunate officer to the fury of his accusers, and by appointing Pertinax 
in his place, the dissatisfaction of the troops continued; a proof that 


the cause lay deeper than a change of commanders. Upon the arrival 
of Pertinax in Britain the mutinous troops proposed to throw off the 
authority of Rome altogether and raise the proconsul to an independent 
throne; and when he prudently refused this dangerous pre-eminence, 
they struck him down and left him for dead. Pertinax, however, suc- 
ceeded in restoring order, and soon afterwards returned to Rome, 
leaving Albinus in command of the province. 

The murder of the emperor Commodus, the elevation of the same 
Pertinax to the imperial throne by the praetorian guards, the assassina- 
tion of Pertinax three months later, the virtual sale of the imperial 
throne to the usurer Didius Julianus, the rise of Septimius Severus in 
Pannonia, of Pescennius Niger in Syria, and of Albinus in Britain, all 
of whom claimed and assumed the blood-stained purple, the murder 
of Didius Julianus, the placation of Albinus, the defeat of Pescennius, 
the devastation of Byzantium, because it had sheltered and chanpioned 
him, the seizure of the imperial throne by Septimius, and the defeat 
and death of Albinus, all occurred within the five years, 193-7. 

After having secured himself in his perilous position, Septimius, in 
196, appointed one of his most faithful adherents, Virius Lupus, to 
the government of Britain, and this officer at once hastened to the 
scene of his new command and set about making such reforms in the 
administration as the state of afifairs appeared to require. Among these 
was the division of the country into seven provinces, which, at a later 
period, and with some modification of boundaries, became the seven 
so-called Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, or Heptarchy. ** There couid hardly 
have been any other reason for such subdivision than that proctor- 
ship of authority which was to be observed going on in all parts of 
the empire, and which was the necessary consequence of its hierarch- 
ical form of government. The emperor, who was also the chief-pontiff 
of Rome, and commonly worshipped as a god, was too sacred a per- 
sonage to directly transact the affairs of state, and he had to be rep- 
resented by a vicar, legate, or proconsul. The proconsul being placed 
in authority over native kings and princes, soon became too important 
an officer to be directly approached, and he too exercised his office 
by proxy; and so it continued down to the lowest stratum of official 
rank. Everything was done by somebody else, and consequently was 

'* From a comparison of certain Anglo-Saxon coins of very rude design, Mr. Evans 
was induced to assign them to six districts, or petty kingdoms, whose geographical posi- 
tion corresponded more or less with the subsequent heptarchical kingdoms. Hawkins, 
** English Silver Coins,'* p. xo. They are more likely to correspond with six of the 
seven provincial districts into which Britain was divided by the Romans, and which 
formed the basis of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. 


done badly. Tacitus expressly states that the most essential matters 
* were commonly neglected. The division of the Island into seven sub- 
provinces had some apparent advantages, it provided for seven new 
officers, each of whom was required to take care of his own govern- 
ment, and it probably led to the organization of those local means of 
defence, including a body of yeomanry, which the frequent and rapid 
attacks of the barbarians had rendered necessary for the security of 
the province. Notwithstanding these preparations, or perhaps because 
of his having made them, the proconsul fancied that he might pru- 
dently spare some of the imperial troops for service on the Continent; 
whereupon the Norsemen, in 205, again forced the Outer Wall, over- 
ran the district between the walls, put its defenders and inhabitants 
either to flight or the sword, and intrenched themselves in Roman 
strongholds, from which, during the two years following, they sallied 
at intervals to extend their conquests and augment their plunder. 

Under these circumstances Virius determined upon a line of policy, 
which, while it temporarily averted further aggressions, was event- 
ually followed by the most pernicious consequences: he bought off 
the enemy with gold. Assuming the Maeatas to have been Norsemen, 
this was the first ** Danegeld" or **Gotgeld" paid in Britain. The 
payment of such a tribute naturally inflamed the appetites of the en- 
€my for further riches. It also increased their strength and military 
resources, by tempting their kinsmen to come over in increasing num- 
bers from Scandinavia, Saxland and Frisia. The truce was again and 
again broken and renewed, until at length Virius, despairing of deal- 
ing successfully with the enemy, sent a message to the emperor, ask- 
ing for strong reinforcements of troops, and representing the advan- 
tages which might result from the attendance of the imperial presence 
itself in Britain. 

SeptimiusSeverus acceded to this suggestion by rapidly assembling 
an army and making a forced march through Gaul. He arrived at 
York, then the principal city of Britain, in the winter of the year 208. 
After concluding preparations for a crushing and decisive campaign, 
he was enabled in the spring of 209 to take the field with a well dis- 
ciplined force. The result of this campaign was a complete triumph 
for the Roman legions, who penetrated to the northernmost extremity 
of the Island, dispersing the enemy as they advanced, and forcing 
them either into the mountainous wilds, or into their boats and away 
altogether. But it was a triumph that, although it is said to have cost 
the aged emperor the almost incredible number of 50,000 troops, only 
lasted for a short time. Pending the renewal of further hostilities. 


Septimius employed his forces in strengthening the Inner Wall, to 
which was now added a stone rampart from end to end; and it may 
have been in the arduous labour of this stupendous undertaking that 
many of the troops succumbed, whose loss the Latin historians at- 
tribute to the Caledonian campaign. 

In the summer of 210 the mysterious Maeatse again united with the 
Caledonians to harass the Roman frontiers. This time the emperor 
was unable to punish them. He died at York in February 211, leav- 
ing the empire to his two worthless and profligate sons, Caracallaand 
Geta. After cremating their father's body, these sons carried its ashes 
to Rome, where, shortly afterwards, the assassination of one son by 
the other, restored the apparent unity, yet only served to hasten the 
downfall, of the empire. The disorders of this period were the symp- 
tums, not the causes, of imperial decay, and need but the briefest 
mention in this place. They were of similar character in all parts of 
the empire. Vicarious authority, the usurpation of the imperial pur- 
ple by ambitious proconsuls, the desertion of the soldiers, their al- 
liance with the barbarians, and the appearance of these allies wherever 
plunder or ransom was to be gained.. A Syrian (Elagabalus) a Norse- 
man (Maximin) and an Arabian (Philip) successively wore a crown 
which had now become but too often the plaything of an insolent 
soldiery and the reward of treachery and assassination. The eastern ' 
Goths, largely enforced by deserters from the Roman army, had de- 
vastated Dacia and Mcesia, defeated the hitherto invincible legions 
and extorted from the emperor of Rome the price of future forbear- 
ance.'* The simultaneous assertion of thirty proconsular claims to a 
tottering and ensanguined throne, only served to mark the splendour 
of the prize and the dissolution of the social forces by which it had 
previously been upheld. 

Emboldened by the disorders at Rome, the tribes of Norse-Britons 
and their allies made unusual preparations to regain possession of 
their native Island. A band of hardy Scots crossed the Irish channel 
and joined the Caledonians. Other bands under Norse vikings made 
predatory descents upon the south and south-east coasts. The roving 
tribes who surrounded the half deserted province all hastened to en- 
joy their share of the revenge and spoil, which its reoccupation prom- 
ised. Only the Romans and those natives who had become domesti- 
cated as Roman servants, trembled at its impending fall. 

'* In the reign of the emperor Philip, the city of Marcianopolis the capital of Moesia, 
paid ransom to a mixed army of Roman deserters, Goths, and Slavs. Two years later 
the Goths defeated the emperor Decius and sacked Philipopolis. 


A pardonable but misleading pride has too commonly concealed the 
fact that at this period the provincial government of Britain had ceased 
to derive its authority directly from Rome. Its proconsul was sub- 
ject to the prsefectus praetorio Galliarum who during the reign of 
Diocletian resided at Treves and at a later period, at Aries." The 
government being in Gaul, the head-quarters of the fleet were fixed 
at Boulogne, a circumstance that afforded no little encouragement to 
the designs of the Norse vikings. On the north-eastern coasts these 
adventurers received aid from their kinsmen and allies without the 
Walls; on the southern coasts their depredations were encouraged by 
many of those who dwelt within them. Between the years 276 and 
283 they appear to have captured and sacked the city of London, and 
in this enterprize they were probably aided by that reckless band of 
Norsemen, who, having escaped from Roman vassalage in Mcesiaand 
Thrace, sailed through the Bosphorus and the Straits of Hercules, 
(Gibraltar,) and returned to their homes in Scandinavia by way of 
the British channel. 

"Gibbon; Wright; and Palgrave, 324, 359, It was Diocletian, a pagan emperor, 
who divided the empire into vicarages. 



The Sack of LondoD by the Goths, circ. aSo, was probably shared by the Tbradaa 
Franks— Their daring cruise from the Black Sea to the Thames— Usurpation of 
■Carausius. the Goth — Distraction of the Empire — Simultaneous rebellions in various 
provinces — Britain again redoced to imperial rale — Constantine becomes sole emperor 
— The imperial capital removed to Byiaotium — Constantine insults the god Thor — 
IndignalioQ of the Goths — They rebel in Mcesia, Sfliony, and Britain — London again 
sacked — Theodosius defeats the rebels, reestablishes the imperial rale, and earns the 
surname of Saxonicus— The Angles of North Britain— The Welsh— The conflict of 
the idolatrous religions of these races eventually paved the way for Christianity in Britain. 

OVID, perhaps because unlike the pliant Virgil, he disdainetl to 
worship Julius as the Father, or refused to proclaim with Ma- 
nilius the {[ospel of Augustus, the Son, was banished by the latter to 
Lower Mcesia, there to repent in vain and to die among the half sav- 
age Gets. After Ovid's death, this tribe, whom both historians and 
archaeologists have recognized as Goths, were frequently reduced in 
numbersby the Roman military conscription, but appear to have been 
reinforced by accessions from the North. Among other emperors who 
promoted or permitted such reinforcement, was Probus. The re- 
cruits who were introduced into Mcesia and Thrace during his reign, 
were known as Frakki.' There are reasons for believing these people 
to be identical with the northern sea-coast, or Saiian Franks.* Their 
removal to Thrace was intended, in the words of Eumenius, "to 
promote the peace of the Roman empire by their planting and the 
strength of its armies by their recruits." * 

These sea-wolves had no sooner taken the bearings of the country ~ 
and learnt where the principal treasures of the imperialists were de- 
posited, than they conceived the daring design to plunder them, es- * 
cape entirely from the Roman dominions and return to their homes, 

' Frakki is the Gothic word for a spear. 

* Id discussing the genuineness and antiquity cf the Codex Argenleus, Michaelis 
fetches the Goths of Mcesia from the Crimea. I'-ui this theory, although perhaps well 
founded, does not explain why some of theseGoths found ii necessary loci 
the whole of Europe in order to reach their homes. Marsh's Micbaelis, i 

' Eumenius, Const., Aug., c. 6, written circ. 31 1. 


by way of the Bosphorus, the Pillars of Hercules, and the Atlantic 
Ocean. This was an enterprise which none but practical sea-men 
would have been likely to entertain, and none but bold and skilled 
ones, would have attempted. The plot having duly ripened, the band 
broke loose and made their way to a port of Thrace, on the Black Sea — 
probably Apollonia — and there, seizing upon a number of sea-galleys, 
they made sail for the Bosphorus. This dangerous strait having been 
successfully passed, they steered for the coast of Greece, where they 
landed for provisions and water. After raiding the neighbouring vil- 
lages, whose poor defences almost invited their rapine, they resolved to 
attempt the Romano-Greek city of Syracuse, in Sicily — Eumenius says 
they captured the place and Zosimus adds, with great slaughter.^ 
From Syracuse they sailed away and raided the Carthagenian coasts, 
taking care to avoid the larger towns and garrisons. While thus oc- 
cupied they were interrupted by the approach of the Roman coast- 
guard ships, and the adventurers once more took wing and vanished, 
this time through the strait of Hercules, whither it is probable that 
no one ventured to follow them. Of what further enterprises they af- 
terwards achieved, we are not apprised, except that according to Zosi- 
mus, ** they managed to get back to their own country unharmed.*' 
It is not too much to assume that the men who had the temerity to 
attempt Syracuse and the coasts of Carthage were quite prepared to 
attack London. It was a Roman town, that is to say, it belonged to 
their enemy, it was rich and not impregnable. More than all, in place 
of the Trinobantes, who had been extirpated in the defeat of Boadicea, 
the adjacent country was now filled with colonies of Vandals, which 
was only one of the several Roman names for Goths. These people 
could be depended upon for information and assistance. The Frakki 
were desperate men who possessed a number of efficient galleys. They 
were going home almost empty-handed, and after their exploits in 
Thrace, Greece, and Carthage, were probably ready to dare anything. 
Why not London? Some of the old Norse sagas contain an account 
of how London was attacked, without giving any date to the enter- 
prise; so, whether it was in A. D. 280, or a later attack, cannot be 
determined. The sagas relate that the Norse-ships sailed up the 
Thames until they got near London Bridge, then consisting of stone 
foundations and a wooden superstructure lined with Roman dwelling- 
houses and shops. The Norsemen thereupon fastened some of their 
vessels to the bridge, set it on fire, and destroyed it, thus cutting ofif 
succour and supplies from the citadel and rendering the latter an easy 

^Eumenius, Const., Aug., c. 18; Zosimus, Probus, i, 71. 


prey. After the capture and sack of the city, the Norsemen appear 
to have abandoned it, probably to return to the Scandinavian and 
Saxon coasts, there to enjoy in security the fruits of their daring ad- 
ventures. It is quite possible that other cities of Britain were sacked 
as well as London and that these raids were protracted throughout 
several following years, until they were brought to an end by the op- 
erations of Carausius in 286. ** England is richest in moveable prop- 
erty of all the northern lands/' significantly remarks the Knytlinga 
Saga; and that the vikings made good use of this observation is abun- 
dantly testified by the amplitude and variety of the Romano-British 
plunder which has been found in their graves and tumuli. 

The news of the audacious raid upon London, having in due time 
reached the imperial court, the Roman proconsul in Gaul, one Ca- 
rausius, who, being a Menapian, was therefore supposed to know 
something about the sort of people he had to fight against and the 
sort of ships best fitted to cope with them, was ordered to immediately 
fit out the imperial fleet and prepare to punish the enemy. This arma- 
ment set sail in 287 and succeeded in intercepting the Norse fleet; ^ 
but Carausius, instead of attacking, came to an amicable understand- 
ing with the enemy, the result of which was that the spoil which had 
been taken by the latter was divided between the commanders of the 
two fleets and the Norsemen entered the service of Carausius. Land- 
ing soon after in Britain, the Menapian proclaimed himself emperor 
of that province and sending an embassy to Rome he boldly demanded 
an official recognition of his usurped title and pretensions. 

The ease and rapidity which attended this singular revolution in the 
government of Britain are readily explained when the circumstances 
of the times are recalled to mind. Not only was the empire divided 
between two Augusti, a division of authority far more ruinous and 
embarassing than though it had been shared by an hundred emperors, 
it was divided between five Caesars, all of whom were obliged to keep 
the field. Egypt having revolted under Saturninus and again under 
Achilleus, Diocletian was called to the sieges of Alexandria and Cop- 
tos. Julian had assumed the purple at Carthage and the Five Nations 
of Mauritania provoked the fierce vengeance of Maximian Hercules. 
Persia had made war upon the vassal king of Armenia, whom every 
consideration of honour and policy commended to the hospitality of 
Rome and the protecting arm of Galerius. The ever restless tribes 
of Arabia had closed the portals of the Indian trade and alarmed the 
southeastern provinces of the empire with apprehensions of invasion. 

' Eutropius, IX, 21, describing this inddent, calls the enemy " Franci et Saxones.'* 


The Gauls, under the name of Bagaudae, or insurgents, rose upon 
their Roman masters, and two of their chieftains, iSlianus and Aman- 
dus, asserted their sovereignty by assuming the purple and striking 
native coins. In the bloody repression which followed this rising, 
Carausius had taken part, and he had probably remarked the extreme 
difficulty with which Maximian recruited his forces. The empire was 
i^as tumbling in upon itself. The Roman race had become Gaulicised 
and Gothicised, many of the Roman commanders were Goths, the 
religion of emperor-worship had fallen into contempt, the exactions 
of the Church, of the proconsuls, of the procurators, of the military 
commanders, were maddening; Probus had compelled the peasants 
to construct a double Wall and a line of forts in Alsatia two hundred 
miles in length ; an ever grinding conscription drove the provinces to 
despair; and what little hope of the future had been left untouched 
by the hand of exaction, was crushed by the iron tyranny of restraint. 

Carausius himself was of Gothic or semi- Gothic blood, * he doubt- 
less spoke the Gothic tongue. He was thus more readily enabled to 
influence the soldiers who had been entrusted with the defence of 
Britain and to animate the Gothic or semi-Gothic peasants, who at 
this period must have formed the main portion of its inhabitants. 
Such were the elements that lay within grasp of the usurper and which 
afforded that promise of success to his perilous undertaking which it 
never could have derived from a mere treasonable coalition with the 
Korse fleet. In other words, Britain was already filled with a semi- 
Gothic population quite ready to accept a Gothic ruler and to throw 
off its allegiance to the hierarchy of Rome and its detested worship 
of emperors. 

In 293 Carausius was slain at York by his prime minister, Allectus, 
-who thereupon usurped and ascended the vacant throne of Britain. 
When the freedom-loving character of the Norsemen is called to mind, 
it can hardly be supposed that this revolution could have been accom- 
plished without a large following; and we are warranted in conjectur- 
ing that there was something more than a mere personal choice be- 
tween Carausius and Allectus which induced the islanders to renounce 
one chieftain and adopt the other. Might this reason also have been 
the same one that, contrariwise, reconciled the Roman government 
to Carausius, whilst it declared war upon Allectus; and was this the 

* On the river Mosel the Romans had erected a fortress called Castellum Menapiorum, 
around which grew up a town. In this town and also between the town and the river 
Scheldt, there dwelt a tribe of Salian Franks called Menapians, among whom, according^ 
to Eutropius, was born Carausius. 


acceptance by the former and rejection by the latter of the Roman 
hierarchical government, and with it the Roman religion? The muti- 
lated literature of this period only informs us that ^Esclepiodotus was 
ordered by the emperor to invade Britain and destroy Allectus and 
his government; a task which he successfully accomplished in the 
fourth year of the latter's reign. On this occasion London was again 
sacked. When iCsclepiodotus had routed the army of Allectus, the 
fugitives, consisting mainly of the Frankish and Saxon Goths, with 
whom both Carausius and Allectus had recruited their legions, re- 
treated to London and began to plunder it. The imperial forces, 
however, surprised them at their work, and put them to flight. 

In 306 the Cassar, Constantius Chlorus, died at York, and his son, 
Constantine, who was about thirty years of age, was proclaimed Caesar 
by the imperial troops then quartered in Britain. He was politic 
enough to communicate his elevation to Galerius; to soften his own 
treasonable part in it, by alleging, like Saturninus before him, that 
he was unable to prevent or undo it; and to entreat the forgiveness 
and condonation of the emperor. Pending the arrival of a reply, he 
prudently rebuilt the citadel of London and surrounded it with a 
strong wall of stone, within which, at a place now occupied by St. 
Swithin*s church, Cannon Street, began the great Roman roads which 
the Goths afterwards called Watling and Irmin streets. This spot is 
still marked by ** London Stone," probably the remains of a Roman 
milliarium. Galerius having reluctantly confirmed the elevation of 
Constantine and assigned to him the dominion of Gaul and Britain, 
the latter removed his court to Treves, where he fitted out several 
expeditions against the Frankish Goths, whose resistance to imperial 
rule had made the valley of the lower Rhine a theatre of constant war- 
fare. After many acts of turpitude, all committed from motives of 
ambition, Constantine, in 312, entered Rome as a conqueror, and a 
trembling senate hastened to confirm him as one of the three Augusti, 
between whom the disjointed empire was now divided. In the course 
of a few years he succeeded in destroying every obstacle to his am- 
bition, including Maximin,his benefactor, Licinius,his brother-in-law, 
Fausta, his wife, and Crispus, his son. In 324 he became sole master. 

But of what ? Of an empire distracted by hierarchical government 
and three irreconcileable religions, the polytheistic, the Julian or 
Augustan, and the "Christian " ; of a people more barbarian than civ- 
ilized, and more Gothic and Roman; of an army of mercenaries; and 
of one hundred and twenty provinces drenched in blood and ruined 
by vicarious government. It was evidently in the belief that all this 


wrong could be righted, and all this history undone by his own hand^ 
that Constantine promptly took sides with a religious party, of whose 
tenets he was unmistakedly ignorant, but which, nevertheless, com- 
prised some of the most wealthy and influential famili^ of Rome and 
Alexandria. Following out the same idea, he resolved to be rid of 
the Julianists by removing the court to Byzantium, whither he also 
caused to be conveyed the most precious treasures and works of art 
that remained in the empire.' The dedication of this ancient city 
by the new name of Constantinople took place in 330, and among the 
earliest decrees that bore its stamp was that new political charter by 
which the conqueror hoped to save the falling state. 

But no charter could save it now. The Goths, who surrounded, who 
invaded, who filled, the empire, were not in a mood to listen either to 
the gospel of peace or the provisions for local feudal government which 
were contained in the New Constitution. Their blood was up. They 
had endured all that a race of men can endure in peace. Constantine 
at Treves had thrown their captured leaders into the arena, there to 
be devoured by wild beasts. He had impressed all their youth into 
his legions, and marched them off to distant parts of the world, never 
to return. The emperor was no longer a god, for, if the monkish ac- 
count be true, he had embraced a religion which acknowledged a god 
superior to all earthly dieties. Rome was no longer the seat of empire, 
and the allegiance due to the empire on account of the sacred Quirinus 
was dissolved. The impious emperor, for such they deemed him, had 
refused to sacrifice even to Thor; and the temples of Byzantium, 
sacred to that deity of deities, had been converted into churches ded- 
icated to a new and unfamiliar worship. 

From Upsala to Cologne and from York to Mcesia the Gothic mea 
arose. While the emperor was called to the defence of the Danube, 
his eldest son, afterwards Constantme II., fortified the Rhine. But 
there were other dangers as well as exposed frontiers. Bands of Gothic 
soldiers who had deserted from the legions were to be seen in all the 
provinces of the empire preparing to join their kinsmen. Even the 
troops who surrounded the emperor, failed him, and compelled him 
to retreat before the champions of Thor and Woden. In Britain the 
tribes of the north continually gained ground. When Constantine was 
crowned at York, the frontier was at Edinburgh. Sixty years later it 
was at London, which the sons of Woden again captured and again 
sacked. It was at this juncture that Theodosius, the imperial pro- 

* Some Egyptologists would have us believe that, ages before, Thotmes III. had for 
a like reason removed his court to TeUel-Axnarna. 


consul, massing his forces at Richborough, marched upon London, 
put the victors to flight, recaptured the spoil, and took many prisoners, 
an exploit for which he earnt an ovation and the surname of Saxonicus. 
This surname alone sufficiently indicates the race to which the routed 
enemy belonged, and makes it impossible to believe the story of a 
subsequent Anglo-Saxon invasion. Saxonicus could only have been 
the name of one who had conquered the Saxons. 

Ever since the death of Antoninus Pius,and more especially since the 
subdivision of the empire, desertions from the imperial army had con- 
tinued. Although the ranks were successively filled by new conscrip- 
tions, yet the moraleof the troops was deeplyaffectedandtheintegrity of 
the empire repeatedly exposed to danger. The deserters either adopted 
a marauding life, or else joined the enemy, taught them how to make 
and use Roman arms, inured them to discipline, and pointed out the 
rich places to despoil, or the weak ones to assault. During the brief 
reign of Constantine in Britain,the defections of troops were numerous 
enough to receive notice even in the meagre chronicles of those times. 
The deserters joined the barbarians in Caledonia, or Gaul, or upon 
the sea, and shared in their forays upon the Roman frontiers and 
settlements, which, little by little, were thus driven towards the south- 
eastern and the interior portions of the island. During the interval 
between the accession of Constantine and the withdrawal of the Ro- 
man legions from Britain — the obscurest period in British history — 
a tribe of Goths, known as Angles, obtained a footing in the North, 
while a tribe of Bretons, or American Gauls^ from the valleys of the 
Seine and Loire, whom the Saxons called **Welshe," or strangers, 
occupied the western and northwestern parts of Britain. These races, 
and their kinsmen, who were yet to come, brought with them distinct 
religions; the Goths, the polytheism of the Mongolian steppes, and 
the Welshmen, the druid rites of Gaul. The conflict of these discordant 
religions, combined with the increasing disgust of the provincials for 
«mperor-worship, may have had no little influence in facilitating the 
subsequent establishment of that higher and purer religion, which is 
said to have been taught to our forefathers by St. Augustine. 




Religions of Rome and Britain — ^Amity of the polytheistic Romans and Goths — 
Theodosius the Elder — His government of Britain — Valentinian destroys a Julian altar 
at Paris and consecrates the temple to **St. Stephen/* now Notre Dame — Theodosius 
indignant, but silent — He is removed to the Rhine frontier — Afterwards to Africa, 
where he chastises the Moors — He is unjustly executed by Gratian — His son, Theo- 
dosius, duke of Mcesia, flies to Spain — The place of Theodosius the Elder in Britain 
is filled by Maximus — The Goths rise in Mcesia and defeat and kill Valens — Gratian 
comes to the rescue — He calls Theodosius the Younger from his retirement and prom- 
ises him the Eastern empire — Military successes of the latter — Peace restored — Gratian 
renews his religious reforms — Demolishes the altar of Victory — Confiscates all the 
property of the Church of Rome — Bestows its livings upon Christians — Ambrose — 
Augustine — Priscillian — Revolt of Maximus prompted by the pagan priests — Numbers 
of the insurgents — They land in Gaul — Gratian flies from Paris — His betrayal and 
assassination — Maximus, who is recognized by Theodosius, reigns at Paris — He 
attacks Valentinian II., at Milan — Flight of the latter to Theodosius — These princes 
combine and defeat Maximus — His death — Theodosius assigns a nominal kingdom to 
his youthful colleague and enters Rome in triumph — The senate alters the official 
religion of the empire — End of the revolt under Maximus — Its origin and results. 

PROF. MAX MULLER has somewhere said that the most pro- 
found and profitable of all studies is the contemplation of those 
steps by which man has sought to approach his Maker — in other words 
— religion. In seeking for the causes of the decline of imperial power 
in Britain, this remark receives corroboration. The Romans in Britain, 
themselves split into two sects, had to deal with two other religions 
besides their own, the druidical religion of the Gaels and the Buddhic 
polytheism of the Goths. The former was subject to an ancient hier- 
archy; the latter was strengthened by no such bond. The former 
possessed an organized body of priests and a national church ; the 
latter was destitute of either, for the hirsars were warriors, priests, 
and magistrates combined. In this combination their sacerdotal and 
civil functions were relatively unimportant. The druidical religion 
had nothing in common with one of the two great sects of the Ro- 
mans. The Gothic religion resembled the polytheism of the ancient 
Roman Commonwealth. Besides substituting Thor for Jupiter Ton- 



ans, Woden for Bacchus * and Frica for Venus, it only differed from 
the creed of Cicero, Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius, or any of the classical 
writers whose works have been permitted to reach the modern world, 
as all coarse conceptions differ from refined ones. Hence the policy 
of the early Roman conquerors of Britain was to encourage and make 
allies of the Goths, whose religious faith harmonized with their own 
most ancient one, and to drive out or extirpate the Gaels, who would ^ 
probably forever remain irreconcileable enemies. The kingdoms 
granted to Prasutagusand Cogidanus were granted not to Gaels but to 
Goths. The campaign against Mona' was directed against the druidical 
hierarchy, and whilst it affected the Gaelic, did not at all concern the 
Gothic chiefs, who shared between them the petty kingdoms of Britain. 
So long as the Romans held fast to their own ancient religion they 
need not have had any trouble with the Goths. The latter made good 
citizens, they recruited the armies and fleets, they filled the offices of 
state, and some of them even reached the imperial throne. But when 
the worship of the emperor was added to the polytheistic religion, 
when the powers of the imperial government were lent to the support 
of the former, by grants of lands, slaves and benefices, by the erec- 
tion of temples, and by the employment of priests, all of which sup- 
port had to be eventually borne by the people, then there was friction 
between the government and the influential classes of Rome; and re- 
sistance on the part of the Gothic and semi-Gothic inhabitants of the 
provinces. In the course of two or three centuries this resistance 
burst into organized rebellion, and this rebellion is what has been er- 
roneously styled the Barbarian Invasions. The reader will have already 
observed some evidences of Gothic disaffection in the desertions of 
Gothic troops from the legions, in the Caledonian attacks upon the 
Roman frontiers of Britain, and in the rebellion under Carausius. He 
will now see what form it assumed previous to that last and success- 
ful effort which we have been perversely taught to regard as the first 
Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain. 

* ' ' Modem painters and artists have thought proper to represent Bacchus as a gross, 
vulgar, and bloated personage; on the contrary, all the ancient poets and artists repre- 
sent him as a youth of most exquisite beauty." Note to Rev. Wm. Beloe's Herodotus, 
p. 16. The bronze Bacchus taken from the bed of the Tiber at Rome in 1885 has the 
form of a beautiful youth with feminine features and long curling hair, parted in the 
middle. As represented in Lanciani*s heliotype.he holds in one hand a staff, surmounted 
by some conical object. If this belonged to the figure, when found, it may be a staff 
of augury. The other hand,with its raised forefinger, imposes silence, a familiar attitude 
of the radiated figures of the same god which Mr. Barker excavated at Tarsus in 1845 and 
attributed to Harpocrates, Horus,etc. Lanciani's * 'Ancient Rome, " 308 ; Barker's * 'Lares 
and Penates," 181. *' The Greeks assure us that Bona Dea is the Mother of Bacchus, 
whose holy name is not to be uttered." Plutarch, in Julius Cxsar. Bacchus was known 
to the Gauls as Hesus. ' M ona was the Celtic name ; Anglesey, the Saxon and later one. 


Owing to the mutilation of Roman literature relative to the fourth 
century and the modern habit of relying too exclusively upon the 
altered fragments and spurious substitutions which have been per- 
mitted to survive, no satisfactory account exists of the rebellion of 
Maximus.* The history of this occurrence is connected with the life 
of Theodosius Saxonicus. In 357, Julian, at that time a Caesar and 
general under the Emperor Constantius, sent 800 vessels to Britain 
for corn. In 360 his head-quarters were at Paris, where he was de- 
clared emperor by his troops. The rising of the North Britons, which 
began in 360, may have derived its immediate stimulus from the 
scarcity occasioned by Julian's demands for breadstuffs. However 
this may be, the insurrections of the northern tribes were seconded 
in 364 by a numerous fleet from the coasts of Saxony. The operations 
of these combined forces threatening the loss of the province, Valen- 
tinian I., then emperor of the West, sent Theodosius in 367 with a 
strong legionary force to chastise the insurgents and restore the im- 
perial or proconsular authority. The result of these operations was 
related in the last chapter. 

Valentinian had spent the previous year, 365-6, at Paris, whence 
he directed the operations of Jovinus against the Germans (Alemanni) 
who at that period threatened the Upper Rhine. Here the emperor 
filled up the intervals of war with the labours of peace. On the site 
now occupied by Notre Dame stood a pagan temple once dedicated 
to Hesus and afterwards to Bacchus. Valentinian destroyed the 
Bacchic altar, consecrated the church to St. Stephen,* and in like 
manner proceeded to efface, right and left, every public monument 

' The main object of the fraudulent history of Martin (of Tours) and other monks 
was to suppress the acts and very existence of Maximus, says Herbert in his ** Britannia 
after the Romans/* i, 16. 

* In 171 1 were exhumed from beneath Notre Dame nine large stones, forming a por- 
tion of the wall and altar of an ancient religious edifice. Two of them constituted an 
altar which had on its four sides, ist, The effigy and name of lOVIS; 2nd, The name 
and figure of VOLCANVS; 3rd, The name and figure of HESVS, who is portrayed 
in the act of cutting a branch of mistletoe with a hatchet ; 4th, A bull, with the inscription, 
TAVROS TRIGAR ANVS. Another stone, of a later period, contained a dedication 
by the Nautae Parisiaci. as follows; TIB C^SARE AVG lOVI OPTVM MAXIMO 
NAVTiE PARISIACI PVBLICE POSIERVNT. Another altar, of still later 
date, was subsequently discovered beneath the Rue Mathurin, with the following in- 
ORNAV ALT R VIRTVS JVLIANI C^SARIS. All these monuments are now 
in the Hotel de Cluny. The god Hesus is thus referred to in the Pharsalia of Lucan» 
lib. I, verse 445, written during the reign of Nero: 

Et quibus immitis placatur sanguine diro 
Teutates horrensque feris altaribus Hesus. 
Teu-Tatt, or Deu-Tatt, the god Tat, is one of the many names of the Indian Buddha, 
or Bacchus. Teutates was a common Roman name for Scythians. 


of this worship which defiled the Gaulic metropolis. The details of 
these pious labours, if they ever reached the ears of Theodosius Sax- 
onicus, could scarcely have imparted to that general any additional 
encouragement in his campaigns against the Caledonians and Saxons 
of Britain, for Theodosius himself, so far as he professed any religion 
at all, sacrificed at the very same altars which his zealous sovereign 
Valentinian was now employed in suppressing. However, Theodosius, 
above all things, was a soldier and a Roman. Heedless of the dis- 
quieting rumours which reached him from Paris, he repaired Britan- 
nia's military Walls once more and drove the barbarians beyond them ; 
concluding his campaigns in 370 and leaving Britain at peace and re- 
stored to Roman proconsular rule. During the following year he was 
removed to the Upper Danube and employed with success against 
the Alemanni. In 372 he was ordered to Africa. Here there was more 
trouble. The Moors had resisted the Roman conscription and re- 
fused to pay the tribute ; Romanus, the governor of Africa, dissatis- 
fied with the sectarian proceedings of the emperor Valentinian, had 
made common cause with the rebels; and the entire province was in 
a ferment. Theodosius appeared on the scene in time to prevent any 
systematic combination of the hostile forces, pursued Firmus, the 
Moorish commander, to his death, completely broke up and dispersed 
the enemy, and recovered Africa in the course of two or three cam- 
paigns. In 376, upon the conclusion of these brilliant services to the 
empire, and for no other imaginable reason than that, as a Roman of 
the old school, he refused or neglected to carry out the iconoclastic 
commands of Gratian, Theodosius Saxonicus was coldly beheaded at 

Gratian, the eldest son of Valentinian I., was born in 358, received 
the title of Augustus during his childhood and succeeded his father 
to the western division of the empire in 375. To conciliate the party 
(Arians) which had proclaimed his infant half-brother, Valentinian II. , 
at Rome, he resigned Italy, Illyricum, and Africa to the supremacy 
of the latter, reserving for himself Spain, Gaul and Britain. In re- 
spect of Italy and Illyricum the partisans of Valentinian, who was 
then but four or five years of age, maintained over these countries 
a jealous control; in respect of Africa, the military operations, still 
in progress there, demanded the supervision of an older head, and the 
government of that province was virtually resigned to Gratian. This 
prince, with his father's example to guide, and a court filled with 
zealous priests, to urge him, continued those attempts to mould the 
religion of the western empire which Valentinian I. had begun; and 


it was during the course of these reforms and probably through some 
miscarriage of justice that the faithful Theodosius suffered an un- 
timely and undeserved death. At that period the victim's son, whose 
name was also Theodosius, held a command in Moesia, with the title 
of duke, under Valens, emperor of the East, and uncle to Gratian 
and Vaientinian II. Alarmed at the sudden and tragical fate which 
had befallen his father, and fearing for his own safety, Theodosius 
fled to Spain, his native province, where he had friends and could 
count upon a safe refuge. We shall hear of him again. 

Meanwhile Gratian, probably not sorry to escape the importunities- 
of the sect-arians who filled his court of Paris, led an army to the 
Rhine, where in 378, assisted by his generals, Nanienus and Mello- 
baudes, * he won the victory of Colmar over the barbarians. In Britain, 
Theodosius Saxonicushad been succeeded by Ma^imus Magnus, who* 
also repaired the Walls, drove the Goths into Caledonia and erected 
the territory between the Walls into a sub-province, which, after the 
place of his nativity in Spain, or else in deference to the emperor of 
Rome, was called Valentia. Some war-clouds were gathering over 
the burning sands of Numidia, but apart from these distant omens, 
the Western empire was apparently at peace and its frontiers secure 
from barbarian interruption. Never were signs more deceptive. In 
379 the irrepressible Goths again rose and captured the Roman forts 
of Lower Mcesia. In the absence of the duke Theodosius, who alone 
had fully succeeded in repressing this turbulent population, the em- 
peror Valens was obliged to take the field in person, not, however, 
without calling upon his nephew Gratian for all the assistance he could 
afford. Gratian complied with this request by dispatching Count 
Richomar and strong reinforcements to the frontiers of Mcesia; but 
Valens, before a junction could be effected of all his forces and re- 
lying too much upon the alliance of Fritigern,* risked a battle with 
the insurgents, was defeated, and lost his life. His army fled to Con- 
stantinople and the victorious leader of the Goths indulged his fol- 
lowers in the sack of the Roman camps. 

There was but one man whom the distracted Gratian could depend 
upon to repair this misfortune and rescue the empire from the greater 
danger that impended, and to that man he had been guilty, probably 
more from neglect and the vicarious nature of his government, than 
from intention, of the gravest injustice. The man was Theodosius, 

^ A Frankish king, probably a vassal of the empire. 

' Fritigem was a Gothic leader, who, together with all his command, had deserted 
to Valens. 


whose father had been executed at Carthag(e» for no worse crtme than 
that of venerating the gods under whom Rome had grown from a 
petty village to become mistress of the world. For that ungrateful 
and un^ttstTexecution Gratian was morally responsible. However, the 
exigency was pressing and Gratian was still young and probably pru- 
dent and pliant enough to address a letter filled with such sentiments 
of patriotism, flattery, apology and promise, as were likely to pro- 
pitiate and move the exiled duke. The latter was twelve years the 
senior of Gratian, his experience had been ripened by a long residence 
aear the Goart of Constantinople, he knew from his father's fate how 
little dependence was to be placed upon the favour of princes, and he 
was either in a position to ask for terms, or Gratian was politic or 
penitential enough to offer them. These terms were that if he un- 
dertook to rescue the Eastern capital from its present peril, he should 
become its supreme sovereign. He was declared Augustus, January 
19th, 379; his sovereignty embracing Mcesia, Thrace, Dacia, Mace- 
donia, Egypt, and all Asia. Fixing his head-quarters at Thessalonica, 
Theodosius, in four campaigns, 379-82, effectually suppressed the 
Gothic insurrection. Many of the leaders were killed, Modar and 
Athanaric were won over, and their followers pacified, some of them 
accepting service in the legions and submitting to that very conscrip- 
tion and banishment from their native province, which had been one 
of the causes of their rebellion. 

Delivered once more from the peril of insurrection, Gratian indulged 
in another of those dreams of false security which had already cost 
him four years of anxiety. Except upon the grounds that Christianity 
was embraced in order to discourage and destroy emperor-worships it is 
difficult to understand why sovereigns, who must have been aware how 
largely the provinces were impregnated with Gothic and other bar- 
barian blood and how readily this fact led their inhabitants to revolt 
from any measures which tended to excite their religious or political 
prejudices, should have ventured upon the experiments which distin- 
guished the reigns, not merely of Gratian, but of so many of the em- 
perors of Rome, both before and after his time. In spite of an utter 
lack of unity among themselves, these most impolitic politicians were 
perpetually interfering with the religion of their subjects, some de- 
manding worship to themselves, some, like Elagabalus, to the Sun, 
some, like Julian, to the ancient Greek gods, and some, as we are 
assured, like Gratian and Theodosius, to the Lord Jesus Christ. But 
so it was; local creeds, incapable, froni the lack of any such agency 
as the modern newspaper press, of being either readily diffused or 


readily discouraged, no doubt had much to do with this religious un- 
rest. As the established (pagan) church owned half the lands and 
slaves of Europe, avidity may have also had something to do with it 
There was always a party at the imperial court anxious for the sal- 
vation (and endowments) of their erring brethren in possession. On 
the other hand, the brethren in possession, unweariedly importuned 
the emperor for their adversaries' heads. Upon close inspection these 
agreeable sectarian pastimes will be found to fit many of the blanks 
bequeathed to us by ancient writers of Roman imperial history. 

In 379 Gratian held his court at Milan, and although his boyish 
brother, Valentinian II., remained nominally the sovereign of Italy 
and the provinces before mentioned, Gratian really exercised supreme 
authority. Urged, no doubt, by the new-born zeal of Ambrose, ex- 
lawyer, ex-politician, and ex-pagan priest, but now the beloved bishop 
of the Milanese Christians, Gratian imprudently ordered the demoli- 
tion of the statue of Victory, or Bona-Mater, which adorned the senate 
of Rome, and was the symbol, alike of its religion and its military glory. ' 
An ominous silence followed this act of sacrilege. Mistaking silence 
for indifference, Gratian, still under the influence of his legal and 
ecclesiastical friends in Milan, proceeded to the commission of a far 
bolder measure. Here he was, no doubt, largely influenced by Theo- 
dosius. This prince — whether from policy in dealing with the influ- 
ential classes of Constantinople, who were now, we are assured, com- 
posed entirely of ** Christians," or bearing in mind the unfortunate 
fate of his father — had caused himself to be baptized a Christian in 
the first year of his reign. Before the Gothic insurrection was entirely 
suppressed, namely, in 381, he is said to have assembled an ecclesi- 
astical council at the capital, confirmed the profession of faith and 
other proceedings at Nicaea, and issued several edicts against non- 
conformists. Gratian's measure was no less than the confiscation of 
all the lands, slaves, treasures, benefices, revenues, privileges, and 
livings of the Roman church throughout the Western empire, which 
he declared to be of right the property of the imperial fisc, and which 
he withdrew from its pagan, to bestow upon Christian incumbents, 
many of whom, like Ambrose and Augustine, had been recently con- 
verted from the polytheistic, the Julian or Augustan, the Bacchic, the 
Manichaean, and other idolatrous or mythological worships.' But in 

' See the ** Mother of God " in the Index to " The Worship of Augustus Caesar." 
' Gratian*s confiscation of the property of the church is dated by Dr. Lardner, (iv, 

455,) in A. D. 382. Lanciani, 172, dates the imperial decree in A. D. 383. Mithraic 

shrines continued to be erected in public places throughout Italy until A. D. 390. 

Baedecker's "Central Italy." In Britain, probably also in Italy, they were erected so 

late as the fifth and sixth centuries. 


preparing a smooth way for Christianity in the East, by removing all 
the Christians and all the treasures of the empire to Constantinople, 
its founder had left a rough road for it in the West. The Goths of 
Moesia might be placated; the Goths of Britain and Saxony could 
only be incensed. 

The news of Gratian's edict spread through the provinces like wild- 
fire. It was a tocsin that summoned every malcontent to arms. This 
time the old school priests were with the rebels, and under their 
cautious advice an insurrection was quietly organized in Britain, whose 
remoteness and insular position afforded that secrecy and time for 
preparation, which were deemed essential to success. Meanwhile 
Gratian, who appeared to have had no suspicion of the coming storm, 
quietly journeyed with his court to Paris, amusing himself on the way 
with those idle pleasures of the chase, between which and the enact- 
ment of religious reforms, he appeared to divide the most of his time. 
The vast numbers who followed the standard of Maximus Magnus 
entirely forbid the notion that the insurgent army was of Britons 
alone.* The numbers of women who joined it is an indication of its 
semi-religious organization. This peculiar character, and its subse- 
quent safe landing and march to Paris, are evidences that it was en- 
couraged and aided by the inhabitants of Gaul. 

All being ready, the insurgents, in the year 383, clapped a crown 
upon the dull and dizzy head of Maximus and declaring him emperor 
of Rome, sworn to ** the defence of Jupiter and of all the Gods," de- 
manded to be led against the impious Gratian. The fleet was ready, 
the sea smooth, the wind fair, and countless friends stood ready to wel- 
come and assist the rebels on the opposite shore. Maximus accepted 
the fatal distinction, took his boy, Victor, by the hand, harangued 
the troops to the point of military enthusiasm, and led the march to 
Dover. In a week's time this strange armament, which included not 
only the troops, the Roman-British and Roman-Gothic citizens, and 
the women, but also many of the Goths who had been driven beyond 
the Walls, and a fleet of Norse boats employed for the occasion, landed 
safely in Gaul. Here it was joined by additional numbers, and the 
incongruous host took up its march for Paris. 

So successfully had the secret of this insurrection been preserved, 
that Gratian's first intimation of it was when Maximus was close to 

* Archbishop Usher computed the followers of Maximus at 30,000 soldiers, 100,000 
citizens, 1 1 ,000 women of the noble classes, and 6000 of the plebian class. Antiq. Brit. 
Eccl., 107-8. If any reliance can be placed upon these details, they indicate not merely 
a local insurrection, but a crusade. 


Paris. The defenses and resources of the place were inadequate to 
resist such a force, there was no army within call, and it was difficult 
to determine whom to trust. Gratian had no resource but immediate 
flight, and so away he went, taking the road to Lyons, with the cavalry 
of Maximus in hot pursuit. Before they could overtake him, the un- 
fortunate young man was, like Julius Caesar, betrayed by one of 
his comes palatini. He was killed by Andragathius, commander 
of the advance guard of Maximus. Upon the arrival of the latter, 
all that was left of his noble and imperial rival was his lifeless 

With military promptness, Maximus made the best use of his ad- 
vantage, by immediately threatening to invade Italy. From this design 
he was dissuaded by Theodosius, who agreed to recognize him as em- 
peror of the West, upon condition that he did not attempt to cross 
the Alps. Returning to Treves, where he fixed his headquarters," 
Maximus supported the ancient worship, both in Gaul and Britain, 
and proclaimed his son, Victor, as his colleague. " Tired of an inactive 
life, and perhaps urged on by those priests of polytheism who hoped 
for a restoration of the ancient rites in the central provinces, Maximus 
left Paris in 387 and, attended by a well-armed and numerous force, 
crossed the Alps and laid siege to Milan, where Valentinian II. held 
his court. Upon the flight of the latter to Thessalonica, Maximus 
captured the city and, after recruiting his army, marched on to Aqui- 
laeia, made that place his base of supplies, and thence sent an army 
into Pannonia. Meanwhile, Valentinian II. reached Theodosius, and 
the combined forces of these princes came up with and defeated the 
army of Maximus, near Siscia, on the Save. Maximus fled to Aquilasia, 
where, in 388, he was captured and executed; a fate that soon after 
overtook the innocent colleague whom he had left on his throne in 
Gaul. The prisoners taken at Siscia and Aquilaeia were drafted into 
the imperial army ; Theodosius assumed the sovereignty of the whole 
empire, renouncing to Valentinian only the petty throne of Milan; 
fresh legions were ordered to Gaul and Britain; and in 389 the son 
of the murdered governor of Africa," entered Rome in triumph, where 

"Gildas.i, 13. 

" Maximus has been charged with the death of Priscillian, the '* Christian *' bishop 
of Avilar. Both of these statements appear to be untrue. Priscillian was put to death 
by one of his own followers. Rose, Biog. Die. He was not a Christian , but a Manichaean. 
The edict of Diocletian, preserved by Hermogenes, only mentions Manichaeans. Taylor, 
249. At all events, Priscillian is said to have been condemned as heretical by the council 
of Saragossa, in 380. 

'' Theodosius had now become Augustus, Caesar, and Sacratissimus Princeps. 


^e are told that during the same year," an obedient senate voted 
Christianity to be the official religion of the state and bestowed the 
livings of the old church upon the priests of the new. 

Thus ended the rebellion of Maximus. It was excited at Rome, or- 
ganized in London, matured at Paris, cartied to Milan, and finally 
suppressed at Aquilseia. Its origin was the confiscation of the pagan 
church property and benefices by Gratian; its culmination saw the 
ancient worship and the property of the church restored ; and its sup- 
pression was marked by the official acceptance of Christianity on the 
part of the Roman government.'* But although Maximus was sup- 
pressed, the dissatisfaction of the Goths was not appeased. No sooner 
had Theodosius reseated the youthful Valentinian upon his throne 
and left Milan for Constantinople, than Arbogastes,a Frankish general, 
the second in command of the Roman armies, rebelled against the 
new order of affairs, procured the assassination of Valentinian, in 392, 
and seated a Roman rhetorician, one Eugenius, upon the throne of 
the Caesars. Among the first acts of the new monarch was the restora- 
tion of its property and livings to the pagan church and priesthood. 
Upon receiving information of these transactions, Theodosius made 
deliberate preparations for war, and in 394 marched through Hungary 
to Aquilseia, where Eugenius was intrenched, but which place proved 
as fatal to him as to Maximus. A few days later Theodosius again 
entered Rome in triumph and at once restored the church properties 
and livings to the Christian priests." It is from this date, therefore, 
that must be reckoned the definitive downfall of paganism and the 
adoption of ** Christianity " by the court of Rome. 

" Thackeray, vit. Pnidexitius,dates the official adoption of Christianity in 384. Gibbon, 
chapter xxviii, says after the first triumph of Theodosius, which would make it 389. 
In 393 Eugenius re-established the ancient worship. Zosimus, a contemporary author, 
says that Christianity was restored and established after the defeat of Eug^enius. This 
makes it 394. Consult Lanciani, '* Pagan and Christian Rome," p. 39, for the con- 
secration of the temples as '* Christian*' churches in 393. 

" The official acceptance of "Christianity" in Rome does not imply its acceptance 
by the people of the provinces. This did not occur in Britain until after the sixth century. 

" Lanciani, 177, 




Absence of Christian remains in Roman Britain — Murder of Valentinian II. — 
Theodosius becomes sole emperor — His death — Succession of his two children, Ar- 
cadius and Honorius — Sack of Rome by the Goths under Alaric — Troubles in Gaul — 
Withdrawal of the imperial troops from Britain — The Caledonians and Saxons of 
Britain occupy York and London — Britain falls quietly into Gothic hands and is not 
conquered by an invasion of Saxons — Exaggeration and perversion of the monkish 
chronicles — The Goths really conserved, rather than destroyed, the Roman govern- 
ment — Some cities of Britain remained Roman until the seventh century — Gothic cap- 
tives sent by them as slaves to Rome — Accounts of Gildas, Nennius, and Bede discredited 
by archaeologists — Intrinsic evidence of their falsity — Their mischievous influence. 

IF there is any period in the remains of which the antiquarian might 
hope to search successfully for evidences of the appearance of 
Christianity in Britain, that period is between the years 389 and449y 
the first being Gibbon's date for the official promulgation of the new 
religion at Rome, the last being that assigned by Horsley for the 
withdrawal of the Roman legions from Britain to the Continent. Yet, 
as shown in another part of this work, no such remains have been 
found. Their absence can be accounted for on either of three grounds ; 
first, the symbols of ** early Christianity" may not have differed suf« 
ficiently from those of earlier religions to be distinguished from them ; 
second, the inscriptions or insignia of early Christianity may have 
been originally so interwoven or mixed up with those of other re- 
ligions as to have rendered the publication of this fact inexpedient. 
The monuments dug up in the Rue Mathurin appear to furnish an in- 
stance of this character; third, the remoteness and polytheistic pro- 
clivities of the islanders may have rendered it impolitic to attempt 
the evangelization of Britain at this period. 

It may be safely surmised that the legions whom Theodosius de- 
spatched to Britain were not composed of those Gothic polytheists 
whose fraternizations with the Roman soldiers had laid the grounds 
for so many mutinies, desertions, and rebellions. These guardians of 
Britain's peace were very much more likely to have been drafted from 


Syria, Egypt, or Africa. Whoever they were, the new-comers were 
certainly not Christians, for they have left no Christian memorials 
behind them, indeed '* Christianity " as yet was chiefly confined to 
the intellectual classes of the principal imperial cities and had hardly 
more than made its appearance among the ranks from whom the pro- 
vincial legions were drawn. To have introduced the new religion of 
Rome to the idolatrous troops quartered in Britain would have been 
a dangerous experiment. Britain was not Syria, and any attempt on 
the part of Theodosius to transfer the pagan church-livings of Brit- 
ain, to the ministers of Christianity, or worse still, to demand worship 
for his own image, as he did at Antioch in 387, would have been in- 
stantly followed by another rebellion of the people. 

Indeed, beyond keeping the Caledonians and Saxons at a distance, 
the functions of the imperial government, whether civil or religious, 
were exerted so faintly during the interval between the revolt of Max- 
imus and the final withdrawal of the troops, that some writers have 
imagined that a sort of republic filled up this sera and have peopled 
it with that race of aboriginal Britons who in point of fact had been 
entirely extirpated two centuries previously. Briton is a designation 
to which the inhabitants of the island at this period had about as much 
right as an American of to-day has to the name of Indian. 

From the death of the ill-starred prince of Milan Theodosius plucked 
both the sweets of revenge and of undivided empire. Valentinian 
was the last of the royal house that had authorized the execution of 
Theodosius Saxonicus, and, in the autumn of 394, Theodosius I. be- 
came both de facto and de jure sole emperor of the Roman world. 
He lived just four months to enjoy this elevation and died in the fol- 
lowing January, leaving the empire divided between Arcadius, aged 
twelve, and Honorius, aged eleven. In conformity with the father's 
will, the former, under the guardianship of Rufinus, took the Eastern 
empire; the latter, under that of Stilicho, took the Western. 

The invasion of Italy, first by the Goths under Alaric, next by the 
Mecklenburgers under Rada Gaisus,' and again by the Goths under 
Alaric, the flight of Honorius and his court to Ravenna and the cap- 
ture and sack of Rome by the Goths, all occurred during the first 
decade of the fifth century, and put the seal to that feudalization of 
the empire which began with the birth of the Roman hierarchy, and 
only ended with its dissolution. Henceforth we shall not have to deal 
with Britain through the empire, but with the empire through Britain. 

' Rada-Gaisus was the name of one of the deities worshipped by the coast tribes. 
Mascou/* Hist.Ger.," viii,i4. He died A. D. 406. "TheWorship of Augustus," p. 196. 


The imperial goverment nOw governed only the lords whom it had 
created. It had no longer any direct relations with the people. It 
had long lived in an atmospere of myths and in unison with its sur- 
roundings, it had almost become a myth itself. The ease with which 
the imperial insignia were assumed by upstarts all over the Roman 
world is a warning that the possession of these insignia should not be 
regarded as the evidence of real power; they belonged to a suzer- 
ainty bereft of armies or treasure. The real elements of power had 
long been in the hands of the provincial lords, who as a rule only re- 
frained from divorcing their provinces from the empire, out of respect 
for its religious character and because there was practically nothing 
to be gained by secession. * The child-like confidence with which these 
events and circumstances have been regarded as the consequence of 
** successive waves of barbarians pushing westward from the north- 
east in search of new lands," would be entertaining did it not serve 
to wholly conceal and pervert the truth of history. 

Some of the troops with whom the province of Britain was rein- 
forced during the reign of Theodosius were sent to the aid of Gaul 
during the regency of Stilicho. In 420 the remaining forces of the 
Western empire in Britain were withdrawn to the Continent and the 
proconsul was left to his own resources. One of his first movements 
was the abandonment of York and concentration of his forces in the 
southern part of the province; whereupon the Caledonians and Sax- 
ons advanced and occupied the deserted city. In 443 the Romano- 
Gothic lords in Britain appealed to iEtius, the Roman proconsul of 
Gaul, for military aid to repel the barbarians. In 444, or according 
to Horsley 446, they made a similar appeal; and although these ap- 
plications were answered by the appearance of forces that served for 
a brief interval to turn back the Caledonians and suppress the insur- 
gents who were overrunning the province, the Roman troops were 
again withdrawn, this time never to return to Britain. 

All was now over. The Western empire was itself sunk into decay; 
since the revolt of Maximus its authority had been almost unfelt in 
Britain, and for more than half a century the Romano-Goths had 
lived in a state of feudal independence which the imperial govern- 

* In point of fact, two secessions occurred in Britain. In 407 Gratianus Municeps 
established an independent government in that island. Being soon after killed, he was 
succeeded by Constantine, a legionary soldier, who, after seizing the government, 
crossed over into Gaul and, with the aid of the Franks and other barbarians, brought 
that province also into subjection. He fixed his court at Aries, where he was defeated 
and killed by an imperial force under command of count Constantius. His son, Con> 
stans, whom he had created Caesar, was killed at Vienne by count Gerontius. Bede, i, 1 1. 


ment had grown less and less disposed to disturb. The proconsul of 
Gaul had as much as he could do to preserve his authority in his own 
province. In 405-6 the Vandals (Goths) had risen; in 412, a Roman 
general, Jovinus, revolted from his allegiance to the empire,assumed 
the purple in Gaul and rewarded his Gothic allies with the grant of 
that territory (valley of the Rhone,) which they named the Kingdom 
of Burgundy; and in 419, the Goths occupied not only Burgundy but 
also almost the entire southern portion of Gaul. Finally in 451 a new 
and formidable enemy, tempted by the distractions of the empire and 
the hope of spoil, overran the whole of northern Europe and entered 
Gaul near the city of Chalons-sur-Marne. These were the Huns under 

The departure of the troops from Britain was not long afterwards 
followed by the advance of the Goths from York to London. That 
some accession of Scythians," Saxons, Angles, Jutes, Franks, Frisians, 
and other ripuarian tribes from the Continent, occurred at this pe- 
riod, is not denied ; on the contrary, the Hunnish invasion of northern 
Europe renders it extremely likely. What is denied is that they came 
otherwise than as exiles seeking refuge with their kinsmen, who were 
already in the peaceable and almost entire possession of an unde- 
fended province. As the Goths advanced, the proconsular forces re- 
treated further south, and within easier reach of succour from Gaul. 
We are told that in the sixth or seventh century the king of Denmark, 
Ivan Vidfami^ rebuilt London,* whose battlements had probably been 
dismantled by the Romans at the time when they fell back upon the 
coast. The monkish chronicles say nothing about Ivan Vidfami, nor 
do they credit the Goths with having rebuilt anything. According 
to them it was all destruction. For example, Cynewolf in describing 
the fall of Anderida, mentions the princely temples with roofs of 
**gold " and filled with furniture of silver and gems, that were set 
afire, the baths exploding in flames and steam and the Saxon chief- 
tains decked with spoil and drunk with Roman wine. As though con- 
firming this view Elton says: ** A few ruins near Pevensy were long 
shown to travellers as all that remained of the noble city." It may 

' ** Scythians " are distinctly included among the conquerors of Britain by Nennius. 
As the tract ascribed to this author is an alteration or forgery of the twelfth century, 
it is hardly worth while to search into the meaning of the phrase in this place. However, 
as Bede makes a similar statement, the phrase was probably taken from the original 
but now lost story, upon which both of these writers built their chronicles of Britain. 
Anciently all that part of Scythia now embraced in the governments of Esthonia, Peters- 
burgh, and Novgorod, was in the hands of the Goths, or Sacse. 

^ Ragnar Ladbrok*s Saga, cc. 10-19. 


be added of Wroxeter, a Roman provincial city of the first class, that 
nothing remained to mark its site but a petty village. Kinchester, 
Lincoln and Weston must have been considerable cities, judging from 
the extent of their Roman remains; so was Cirencester at the source 
of the Thames. There is little more left of them than their ashes. 
The devastation committed in these places is not denied, but it must 
be attributed to another occasion than a German invasion of the fifth 
century, which never took place, and to another motive than a ruth- 
less desire to destroy, which never existed. During the entire interval 
between 366 and 446 the island was a scene of feudal anarchy, in 
which the Roman forces from Gaul alternately appeared and van- 
ished and Roman civilization flickered and expired. In the fore- 
ground stood a mass of discontented provincials, that is to say, Romans 
and Goths and Romano-Goths, who again and again fraternized with 
each other, revolted against the suzerainty of Rome, and overthrew 
the altars of the impious Augustan religion. In the background, al- 
ways prepared to move to the front, wer'e the Caledonians and the 
wild Norse tribes, who were related to the provincials, and shared 
their prejudices, but to whom the prospect of plunder was always 
necessary to awaken their sense of kinship or to stimulate their latent 
energies. These and the Romans themselves, who dismantled the 
fortifications which they abandoned, were the authors of the devas- 
tations that occurred during the fifth century; and not the mythical 
Hengist or Horsa. To these principal agencies may be added the re- 
volt of Maximus, which could hardly have occurred without some re- 
sistance on the part of the Augustan priests and their adherents; a 
resistance that would naturally be followed by attacks upon their tem- 
ples and other places of securitj^or refuge. In these attacks the fury 
of the assailants may often have overcome their prudence, and con- 
trary to their own interests and intentions, both temples, villas and 
cities, may have been sacked or burnt to the ground. All revolts 
are attended with bloodshed and religious revolts are commonly the 

Twenty feet beneath the cities of York, London, Wroxeter, Kin- 
chester, Lincoln, Weston, Cirencester, etc., there is a Roman city, 
utterly destroyed; but these cities did not fall at the same time nor 
from the same causes. Some fell during the religious wars of the 
second and third centuries, some during the Romano-Gothic insur- 
rections of the third and fourth centuries, some beneath the hands of 
retreating Romans in the fourth century, some were possibly de- 
stroyed by the Goths when they advanced from Valentia to Britan- 


nia Prima, while others held out as Roman cities until the seventh 
or eighth centuries, to fall at last by the hands of an entirely new 
class of contestants or religious bigots/ But there is no warrant at 
all for attributing to the Goths of Britain, as some writers have done, 
the same sort of devastation which was said to have been committed 
by their brethren in Mcesia. Says St. Jerome, who claims to have 
been an eye-witness of these acts of violence: '' Little was left ex- 
cept the sky and the earth, and after the destruction of the cities and 
the extirpation of the Roman race the land was overgrown with thick 
forests and inextricable brambles." It has been the policy of the 
Church to suppress all mention of emperor-worship and the revolts 
which it occasioned in the provinces. To account for these revolts 
it was obliged to invent the Barbarian invasions and to ascribe all the 
devastation and cruelties of the former to the latter. When we con- 
sider the abominable form of idolatry which the new Church was en- 
gaged in uprooting, there was much excuse for these fictions, but 
there is no necessity to keep them up any longer. 

The general conduct and policy of the Goths and dissenting Ro- 
mans was not to destroy, but rather to conquer and conserve. There 
was no motive for destruction. In the blind fury of battle and es- 
pecially where the resistance was prolonged or accompanied by cir- 
cumstances that excited the anger of the belligerents, the accounts 
transmitted to us may be sufficiently faithful, but such resistance was 
not always nor even generally offered. Many cities made no resist- 
ance to the insurgents, others surrendered upon terms. The great 
care which the revolutionists took to keep the communities intact and 
the privilege which they accorded the Roman portion of them to live 
tinder their own laws, affords a sufficient assurance that, generally 
speaking, the latter were neither tortured nor exterminated. In the 
course of a graphic picture which he draws of the occupation of Brit- 
ain by the Saxons, Gibbon, in, 620, says they ** violated without re- 
morse the most sacred objects of the Christian worship. ** The nu- 
merous archaeological discoveries which have been made since this 
historian penned his immortal treatise on the Decline and Fall of the 
Roman Empire, enable us with some confidence to substitute in this 
passage the word ** Roman," for ** Christian." The temples that fell 
at Anderida and elsewhere were temples of Augustus, not of Christ; 
the bishops who discreetly retired with their holy relics into Wales 
and Armorica were bishops of the pagan, not the Christian church; 

* Gibbon; Savigny; Sir F. Palgrave, i, vi; Du Bos, 11, 333, 524; D'Acher, Specileg., 
XI. 345. 


and the sacred objects which the Saxons seized and appropriated^ 
many of which are in our museums to-day, bear not one of them a 
distinctively Christian mark. After the Gothic risings and the sup- 
pression of Roman imperial authority the spoils which had been taken 
by the former were partly employed to repay the jarls of Norway and 
Denmark who had furnished ships, men and arms to the rebels. Many 
of these spoils still survive in the antiquarian collections of Scandi- 
navia. Others of similar character are in the museums of Britain. 
They consist of Roman gold and silver coins, jewelry, golden bowls 
and vases, fibulae, precious glassware, gold-mounted swords and har* 
ness, and a great variety of other articles. A recent writer, Mr. Du 
Chaillu, has strangely mistaken these relics for specimens of Norse 
handiwork. Their Roman workmanship and origin are so obvious 
that his opinion on this point needs no further refutation. 

In the religious wars of Britain during the fourth century, to which 
period we have ventured to assign many of the relics of devastation 
which have rewarded archaeological research, the destructive acts were 
not confined to the insurgents; similar acts were also committed by 
the troops. As the former had neither stone altars to be defaced, nor 
temples to be overthrown, the troops satiated their animosity in blood, 
violence, and the sale of captives. The insurgent towns, whether be« 
trayed or surprised, were always ruined. The people who were not 
cut down were enthralled and sold in the slave marts of the Conti- 
nent, the women were foully treated, the aged and infants were left 
to perish. Many a Gothic settlement between the Walls was destroyed 
in these forays. Smoking ruins, pools of blood, disfigured corpses, 
the agonized cries of the wounded, and a troop of horse retreating^ 
ki the distance, driving before them a herd of cattle laden with young 
women, boys and other spoil, told the piteous story. Indeed it was 
the sight of some Northumbrian Goths captured probably in a sally 
from one of the several Roman towns which still held out at this pe- 
riod, that excited the pity of Pope Gregory and put him upon the 
design of introducing Christianity into Gothic Britain. These slaves 
were children, who about the year 580, were exposed for sale in the 
public mart of Rome. Being told they were Angles, Gregory is re- 
ported to have exclaimed: **Non Angli sed Angeli si forent christi- 
ani. " "If they were Christians they would be angels, not Angles. " 

Upon a review of the various evidences which relate to Britain from 
the fourth to the sixth or seventh century, it appears that the practical 
sovereignty of the Island passed, almost without a struggle, from the 
hands of the imperial government, or its agents, or vassals, into those 


of a number Of petty Gothic chieftains, who occupied the places of the 
departed Romans and ruled in the names of their emperors; that 
some of the Roman cities remained independent of either Gothic or 
imperial government and continued to practise the ancient religion of 
Rome until the seventh century; and that the so-called Anglo-Saxon 
invasion is essentially mythical.* 

The account of this invasion as given by Gildas says nothing about 
the Anglo-Saxons and other Goths who had inhabited Caledonia and 
Britain from the most ancient times; nor of the subdivision and feudal 
government of Britain ; nor of the Count of the Saxon shore; nor of 
the insurrections under Carausius and other Gothic chieftains; nor of 
the Augustan religion, which provoked them; nor of the Gothic con- 
quest or occupation of lestland, Saxony, Frisia, and Normandy; nor 
of Theodosius Saxonicus ; nor whence he derived his name ; nor of the 
revolt of Maximus; nor, in short, of any other circumstances which 
modern research has rescued from the ashes in which the false chron- 
icles of the monks were planted. The work attributed to Gildas 
contains 102 printed pages, of which six are devoted to the preface, 
seventeen to ** history," and seventy-nine to rhapsody. The preface 
and rhapsody do not contain any information, true or false, that is of 
the slightest value. The seventeen pages of ** history " begin with 
the introduction of the Sun into Britain during the reign of Tiberius, 
that is to say, before the island was conquered by the Romans. This 
Sun is explained to mean Jesus Christ. Then follows an account of 
the apocryphal martyrs of St. Albans and Carlisle, the first of whom 
crossed the Thames dryshod whilst the "waters stood abrupt on 
either side." Pursuing this feeble romance to a rapid termination, 
we are informed that Gurthrigern, ** the British king," a purely myth- 
ical creation, invited the Saxons, ** whom, when absent, they dreaded 
more than death itself" (why absent and dreaded, if this was their 
first appearance?) to come to Britain and "live, as it were, under the 
same roof." The Saxons came in three vessels, landed on the east 
coast, proved "successful" against the Romans, and were followed 
by others, together with whom they ravaged and conquered the island. 

Bede is more diffuse. Britain, anciently Albion, was peopled from 
Gaul. At some later period the Picts from Scythia^ were driven by 

• Lappenberg, Kemble, Wright, and many other eminent antiquarians, concur in re- 
garding as mythical both the alleged appeal of the Romanized Britons to the Anglo^ 
Saxon leaders and the alleged invasion by Hengist and Horsa. They contend that no 
such events took place. 

"^ Elsewhere it is shown that all the coasts of northern Scythia, that is to say, of the 
Baltic, were occupied by the Goths. 


Stress of weather to Ireland, whose inhabitants, the Scots, advised 
them to settle in England, the northern part of which they accord- 
ingly occupied, taking with them wives from Ireland. Then follows 
a brief mention of the conquests of Julius Cdesar and Claudius, an 
apocryphal introduction of Christianity in the reign of Marcus An- 
toninus, by a bishop in whose name we recognize a pagan priest that 
flourished some two generations later; the usurpation of Carausius ; the 
martyrdom of St. Alban shortly after his conversion from paganism; 
the revolt of Maximus, ** a man of valour and probity and worthy to 
be an emperor, if he had not broken the oath of allegiance which he 
had taken"; the death of Gratian; the quarrel between Pelagiusand 
Julianus, two pagan priests, under the emperor Maximus, in the fourth 
century, who were anachronically deprived of their bishoprics by St. 
Augustine, under the emperor Maurice, in the sixth century ; the usur- 
pations of Gratianus Municeps and Constantine; the sack of Rome 
by Alaric; the insurrection of the Scots and Picts; the petitions of 
the ** Britons" to Roman Gaul for help; the arrival of a legion on 
two occasions; its final departure; the last despairing appeal to 
^tius; the invitation of king Vortigern to the Angles or Saxons, and 
the dramatic arrival of the latter in ** three long ships." These "pa- 
gans," entering into a league with the Picts, turned upon the too con- 
fiding Britons, (Romans,) slew their priests before the altars, over- 
turned public as well as private edifices, drove the people into the 
mountains or beyond the sea, and then returned **home to their own 
settlements" in triumph. About 429 two Christian bishops, coming 
over from Gaul with numerous limbs of saints and other holy relics, 
were obstructed by demons, who raised a storm against them in mid- 
channel. The waves having been allayed with a few drops of holy 
water, and the demons dispersed by a well-directed prayer, the bishops 
landed, challenged their pelagian adversaries to a public debate, 
utterly overwhelmed them with **the written testimonies of famous 
writers," and commenced to work their relics. A blind girl was re- 
stored to sight, a broken leg was instantly made whole, and the 
British army, led by one of the relic-workers, obtained a miraculous 
victory over the pagans. Eighteen years afterwards similar miracles 
are performed. Then, lightly skipping over an interval of a century 
and a half, we are conducted to the apostolic mission of that servant 
of God and of the emperor Maurice, the sainted Augustine. 

Bede and Alcuin both allude to a writer called Gildas, whose name 
afterwards sinks into oblivion until it is revived by Geoffry of Mon- 
mouth in the twelfth century, by which time a book imputed to him 


had made its appearance. Judging from what is imputed to Gildas 
by those who cite him previous to the twelfth century, Mr. Wright is 
of the opinion that originally "the book was forged by some Anglo* 
Saxon or foreign priest of the seventh century." During the five 
centuries following this original forgery, the book was frequently 
amplified and reforged, until it attained its present form. '* The whole 
is a fable created probably during the latter part of the eleventh and 
twelfth centuries. . . . We have no information relating to its writer 
which merits the slightest degree of credit." There are two manu- 
scripts extant, one of which Mr. Wright assigns to the early part of 
the thirteenth century, the other to the end of the fourteenth or 
beginning of the fifteenth century." 

Bede is believed to have been born in 672 and to have died in 735. 
He was an honest and worthy monk of the monastery of St. Paul at 
Yarrow on the Tyne. He entered this establishment whilst still a 
youth and resided there during the remainder of his life. Consider- 
ing the times in which he lived his works prove him to have been a 
priest of more than ordinary culture and attainments. His sincerity 
cannot be doubted, but his information concerning the Anglo-Saxons 
was three hundred years old, and — as the monuments incontestibly 
prove — it was hopelessly wrong and defective. His work, which of 
course is written in Latin, appears to have been completed in the 
year 731. The manuscript now in the public library of Cambridge is 
a transcript dated 737, and with all its imperfections it is the most 
ancient and in some senses valuable relic of British history which has 
reached us from the Middle Ages.' 

With regard to the tract imputed to Nennius and the Anglo-Saxon 
Chronicle, the two works which are chiefly relied upon for the details 
of the so-called Anglo-Saxon invasion and the origin of the heptarch- 
ical kingdoms, it would be a waste of time to criticize them. They 
are rank forgeries, committed some seven centuries posterior to the 
date of the pretended invasion. It is the opinion of Mr. Wright that 
two prologues to the tract of Nennius are spurious and not older than 
the twelfth century. ** The book contains many marks of having been 
an intentional forgery." The oldest ms. states the year in which it 
was written to be 5th Edmund (976), but it is probably in fact more 
than a century newer. The ms., Harl., No. 3859, belongs probably 
to the beginning of the twelfth century. 

^ Thomas Wright, Biographta Britannica Literaria, London, 1842, 8vo. 
* Mabillon (Analecta, I, 398) points out some alterations whick have been made in 
the MS of Bede's work. 


Of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle there are seven extant manuscripts 
whose narratives end respectively in A. D. 977, looi, 1058, 1066, 1070, 
1080, and 1 154. Even with regard to the earlier periods, no two of 
them agree. Their idioms, handwriting, dates, etc., prove them ta 
be patched forgeries of the eleventh or twelfth centuries, probably- 
done in Rome and wholly unworthy of credit. To regard these fabu- 
lous chronicles as historical we must first destroy every landmark, 
every edifice, public or prirate, and every tomb; we must burn the 
archaeological remains of the Romans and Goths and light the fires 
with the Roman histories, the Itinerary of Antonine, and the Notitia 
Imperii; we must ignore the Roman laws and religions,fling into the 
sea our collections of Roman coins, and stamp out the Latin language 

It is abundantly evident that Britain was not evangelized as the 
monks narrate; it is abundantly evident that it was not conquered 
as they narrate ; it is abundantly evident that it was not governed as 
they narrate. Odin or Woden, from whom they say Hengist and Horsa 
descended in the fourth generation, was the Tamil name for Buddha 
and the Gothic name for the Greek god Bacchus or Mercury, whence 
the English Wednesday and the French Mercredi.". Hengist and 
Horsa are the Gothic words for stallion and mare. Upon this myth 
of the Scythian desert and the Norse fjords, the medieval monks su- 
perimposed other myths, which, coming from Hindustan, Persia, As- 
syria, Egypt, Greece and Gaul, gradually made their way to the mark- 
ets of Alexandria and Rome, whence with other merchandise, they 
were diffused throughout the imperial world. Myths upon myths, an* 
cient trash piled upon still more ancient trash, the rubbish of cent- 
uries watered by ignorance and warmed by brutish zeal, this is what 
has been carelessly accepted by the modern world as the groundwork 
for a'history of Britain and the construction of its national policy. 
It is time it were brushed away. 

*® Tacitus, who wrote nearly four centuries previous to the alleged Hengist and Horsa^ 
who were "fourth in descent from Buddha," mentions the Badu-henna, or forest of 
Buddha, in the Low Countries. Annals, iv, 73. 




Langiiage, Religion, and law— Barbarian patches upon the Roman tongue— Subse- 
quent regrowth of classical Latin — Eclecticism of the Roman religion transferred to 
Christianity — Its happy susceptibility to change and improvement is gradually 6tting^ 
Christianity for universal acceptance — The Civil Law, its origin and history — ^Written 
and oral law — Law of the Commonwealth — Of the empire — The spirit of the law swept 
away by the hierarchy, whilst its forms were retained — Abolition of the Comitia, or 
House of Commons — Imperial ''Constitutions ** — Proculiansand Pegasians — Eminent 
jurists of the empire — The age of Constantine and miracles — Virtual extinction of the 
legal profession — Compilations of Gregorius and Hermogenes — Theodosian Code — 
Visigothic Code — Code of Justinian — The Digest, or Pandects — The Institutes^— 
Alleged Reform of the Calendar by Dionysius Exiguus — Pretended loss of the Pandects 
and its recovery at Amalii — Reasons why it fell under the ban of the Church — The 
law of Britain — Roman law of the Commonwealth — Anglo-Saxon Codes — Roman law 
of the Empire — Canon law — General influence of the Civil Law — The Common Law. 

WHEN the Church mangled and disfigured the remains of Ro- 
man history, it forgot its own doctrine of immortality, it 
stabbed the body in the vain hope to destroy the spirit. The frag- 
ments of Livy and Tacitus which it has flung to posterity may suffice 
to fill a child's catechism, but will never satisfy the requirements of 
men. Those who would consult the spirit of Roman history will not 
search for it in the mytilated pages spared by the monks, but in the 
silent ashes of Rome*s language, religion and law. These institutions 
survived the rule of both Caesars and popes, they exist to this day, 
they shape our present life, and are destined to influence the affairs 
of the world unto the remotest future.* 

The barbarian risings disflgured the Roman language with four great 
coarse patches: the Gothic, Slavic, Hunnish and Arabic, of which 
only the first two possess any considerable influence at the present 
day. The modern languages of Italy, Gaul, and Britain, consist of 
Latin mingled with Gothic, or Gaelic, or both; of Spain, Latin with 

* The Levitical code may have been admirably adapted to the people for whom it 
was framed and the time it was promulgated; the same may be said of the Canon law, 
indeed of all legal codes; but what stone of which the modern temple of Liberty is 
constructed bears any other mark than that of republican Rome ? 


Gothic and Arabic; and of Germany, Latin with Gothic and Slavic. 
Of course, there are other elements in these languages, but we are 
here speaking of ^he most prominent ones. The barbarian patches, 
once so thick as to almost entirely conceal the Latin beneath, are now 
so worn away that one who speaks a Romance tongue may traverse 
more than one-half the globe without fear of having to deal with a 
totally unfamiliar language. Like the Gothic letter, which, within the 
present generation, has been cast aside at Stockholm and Berlin, like 
the Gothic legends which we have erased from palimpsests for the 
sake of the more precious writings beneath, the Gothic patches upon 
the Roman language are being gradually removed, because we have 
discovered the superior value of the language which they deformed. 
This superiority does not consist in mere sonorousness or fluency, 
albeit these qualities have not a little to do with a choice of lan- 
guages, but mainly in the greater precision of the Latin in the ex- 
pression of thought. The language of imperial Rome was made up of 
several others, Indian, Egyptian, Grecian, Etruscan and Punic, each 
of which embodied the thoughts of many generations of men, and a 
wide experience in government and the arts. 

The language of the Romans was that of a people who had once been 
free, and who still boasted a class of citizens, alike public spirited, 
ingenious and refined. In the thirteenth century, when the Romance 
nations began to extricate themselves from the dominion of Rome, 
and assume an independent existence, it was natural that they should 
€ach have 'wished to sing in their peculiar tongue the joyous theme 
of their emancipation; but when these nations found that they had 
to seek in the remains of Rome for a system of jurisprudence, a lit- 
erature, and a knowledge of the arts, it was inevitable that they should 
again accept the Roman language and accept more and more of it as 
time advanced. The Englishman of to-day can scarcely read and un- 
derstand the English of Chaucer. The difference will be found to con- 
sist chiefly in the relinquishment of Gothic words and phrases for Latin 
ones; and although this Latinization of the Romance languages has 
proceeded with far less rapidity in other countries than in England, 
it has made its mark in all of them. If the European world ever has 
a common language again, it is safe to predict that it will not be Vol- 
apuk, but Latin, with perhaps an infusion of that one of the several 
Romance tongues, which conquest, commerce, or colonization, may 
most widely disseminate. 

In other portions of this work, the strange developement of the Ro- 
man religions and their influence upon modern affairs is more than 


once suggested. In the present place it is only necessary to recall 
one striking characteristic of these religions: their capacity of devel- 
opement. We have been taught that the earlier polytheism which Rome 
derived from Etruria and Greece and which the Romans themselves 
ascribed to the institutes of Romulus and Numa always remained the 
same;* but this is not only the very reverse of the truth, it is a very 
superficial view of the whole subject. Continual developement was 
the most striking characteristic of the Roman mythology. The Brah- 
min, the Buddhist, the Egyptian, the Hebrew codes of sacred and 
ceremonial law, were fixed, and the religions of those peoples re- 
mained unchanged. The canons of polytheism were not fixed; and 
the Roman religion changed with every new discovery in astronomy 
and with every important phase of social and political growth. 

The Roman republic was eclectic; its people, its laws, its mythol- 
ogy, came from every quarter of the earth. Its religious ceremonial * 
differed in every province, and its people were split up into as many 
different sects as Christendom is to-day. This is what makes our mod- 
ern ** pantheons "so perplexing; they jumble together, without order, 
the myths of all the ages, and all the provinces, and gravely ask us 
to believe that this anachronical and ill-assorted mass was the religion 
of every Roman. As well combine all the tenets of all the sects of 
Christianity in every age and represent the lot to be the creed of every 
Christian! It was their religious eclecticism which above all things 
enabled the Romans to readily amalgamate with other peoples and 
which rendered practicable the enormous expansion of their empire. 
When this religious freedom was curtailed (for it was not ended) by 
the establishment of a State religion, (emperor-worship,) amalgama- 
tion became more difficult and territorial expansion ceased. The sur- 
rounding nations had been one by one conquered with the sword, but 
they could not be so readily forced to accept a strange religion. To 
the reaction against emperor-worship and the revival of that eclectic- 
ism which had always distinguished the religion of Rome, the Christian 
church is largely indebted for its early growth. When, during the 

* Adam's Roman Antiquities. 

* Livy, in speaking of Caere, a Panic city in Etruria, calls it Sacrarinm populi Ro- 
mani, diversorium. sacerdotum ac receptaculum sacrorum. From the name of this holy 
place we have the word ceremony. It also points to some of the immediate sources 
(Phcenicia and Etruria) of Rome's earlier religious belief and ritual. During the Com- 
monwealth the religion of Rome was largely modified by that of Greece. It was further 
modified and split into two great divisions, when, added to the Greek theology, the 
deification and worship of Julius Caesar and Augustus were by law made a portion of 
its creed and confession of faith. 



eleventh century, the Church felt strong enough to cast aside eclec- 
ticism, it did so, and the result was that the new religion ceased either 
to grow or to spread. When the fanatic hands of the clergy were re- 
moved from its throat and the Reformation reestablished the eclectic- 
ism that had contributed so powerfully to its original success, it began 
to grow and spread again. Liberty and Christianity appear to be com- 

That portion of the Civil law which the Romans acquired from Etru- 
ria, Egypt and Greece, has long ceased to be of interest, except to 
a limited class of antiquarians. The ordinary student of history, the 
lawyer, the publicist, the philosopher, begins his investigations into 
Roman jurisprudence, with the laws of the Republic. As the outcome 
of a free people and the result of a long and varied national expe- 
rience, these laws and institutes are of the highest interest to a grow- 
ing world. Unfortunately, with the exception of a few statutes gathered 
from historical works, themselves in a fragmentary condition, this ju- 
risprudence is all lost; it was destroyed partly in the reign of the 
Julian emperors and partly in that of Justinian and his immediate 
successors. The basis of these laws was the Twelve, originally Ten 
Tables, reduced to writing about A.U. 300. The scope of this legal 
relic was both political and legislative, it related to freedom, the right 
of assemblage and appeal, the settlement of the relations between 
the patricians and plebians, the regulation of judicial proceedings, 
and the duties of magistrates.^ Upon the basis of the Twelve Tables 
was reared, first, the written, and second, the oral, law of the Com- 
monwealth. Of these in their order. 

The written law consisted of enactments by the comitia centuriata, 
a popular assemblage, or House of Commons, summoned by patrician 
magistrates. The general legislative functions of this assemblage were 
supplemented in A. U. 305 by the comitia tributa, a popular assem- 
blage summoned by plebian magistrates, (tribunes,) whose enactments 
formed the second portion of the law. As a makeweight for the con- 
stitution of the new comitia conceded by the patricians, the plebians 
accepted the decrees of the senate, senatus consulta, as the third por- 
tion of the Law, provided such decrees were not nullified or vetoed 
by the tribunes. Few general laws were passed by either of the (suc- 
cessive) comitias or Houses of Commons; their sessions were chiefly 
devoted to the elections of the higher magistrates, trials for treason, 
and to foreign affairs, functions that toward the close of the Com- 

^ See Twelve Tables collected by Jacques Godefroy and published in Michelet'ft 
Hist. Rom. Rep., Appendix, xxiii. 


inonwealth were exercised by the senate before they fell into the 
hands of dictators and gods. 

The oral law embraced the mores majorum, or digest of customs 
relative to private rights, derived chiefly from ancient usages under 
the Twelve Tables, together with other usages of the Commonwealth 
not expressed in the written law; the code of practice, edictus per- 
petuae, which the praetors, or judges, were required to adopt and 
publicly declare each year at the commencement of their judical func- 
tions, and which varied but little from time to time; and the com- 
mentaries, juridical principles and opinions, contained in the decisions 
of the bench, or the treatises of eminent lawyers.* 

Theoretically, the various official powers which Julius Caesar and 
Augustus absorbed into the imperial and pontifical office, put an end 
to the entire system of Roman law; practically, the system was re- 
tained, but perverted. The forms remained, the essence was absorbed. 
The imperial absorption of power, and its assumption of infallibility, 
rendered the processes of law little more than a mockery; and yet 
men are sometimes so well contented with a shadow in place of the 
substance, that this mockery has been kept up in Rome almost to the 
present day; for it is only within recent years that the Italians have 
shaken off the chains of an unreal and tyrannical imposture, to accept 
the more beneficent, if less pretentious, rule of a flesh-and-blood sov- 
ereign. Many writers have expressed the deepest regret that the 
forensic literature of the empire is lost. We can see little to deplore 
in the circumstance. The science of law can gain nothing from perus- 
ing either the edicts of gods, or the glosses of their parasites and 
panders. What was valuable in the Roman law came from the acts 
of a free people and a free Commons and Senate, acts which were 
afterwards reflected in the commentaries of that class of jurisconsults, 
known as Proculians or Pegasians, who, in the faces of the most ab- 
solute and bloody tyrants that ever encumbered the earth, had the 
astounding temerity to proclaim and uphold the principles of freedom 
and the spirit of justice. These principles have survived. We have 
them in the precepts of Paulus, Gains, Papian,Ulpian, and Modestinus, 
men who held aloft the torch oflegal science long after it had become 
a criminal offence to question the slightest dictum of hierarchical rule. 

The establishment of the empire added a new class of materials to 
the body of the Roman law. As the comitia tributa, or second House 
of Commons, declined and faded out of sight, the senate, which had 
become little more than an assembly of patricians to formally enact 

• Also the Canon law and Code of procedure. See Livy, ix, 46, 


the imperial will, increased its menial functions. At length the leges 
and plebiscita entirely ceased, the House of Commons expired, and 
the decrees of a mock senate alone remained of the ancient form of 
legislation. To these decrees were subsequently added the imperial 
constitutions, or ordinances of the hierarchy, the orders in council, 
(rescripta,) and, in some instances, the decisions of the praetors and 
sediles and of the provincial proconsuls and propraetors. These were 
supplemented by the opinions of jurisconsults, among whom the im- 
perialists were called Cassians or Sabinians, the whole constituting^ 
the body of the law which prevailed during the empire. In the reign 
of Constantine the legal profession itself sank into oblivion. Ignorant 
credulity usurped the place of reason, and pretended miracles were 
substituted for the deliberate judgments of the bench. Those silly 
people who sigh for the extinction of lawyers, and who may be inter- 
ested to learn how legal problems were decided without them, will 
find some interesting passages in the pages of Socrates, Sozomen^ 
Eusebius, and other ecclesiastical writers. 

It was perhaps with the design to save the crumbling, though yet 
vast edifice of the Civil law, from complete destruction, that the com- 
pilations which we are about to mention, were prepared. At all events, 
they practically served that purpose, and although much of the frame* 
work and finer portions of the law are lost, enough of the structure 
was preserved to render it, in the Middle Ages, a potent fortress to 
check the advances of tyranny and protect the roots of free institu- 
tions from entire destruction. The position of the law during the. 
early empire happens to be better known to us than during any other 
period, because most of the literary fragments that have reached us 
belong to that aera. On this account it has received more attention 
than it really deserves. Eminent pleaders and patrons appeared be- 
fore the senate, to raise their voices in behalf of accused persons; 
but what reason or what legal principles could hope to prevail against 
the known wish of the reigning hierarch ? Eminent lawyers wrote 
treatises which bravely asserted the legal principles of the republic; 
but unhappily they were without the slightest power to reanimate 
them. The Roman House of Commons was overthrown, the tribunes 
had long since expiated with their heads their crime of liberty, and 
superstition was busily erecting behmd the throne of the Caesars a 
gloomy scaffold, upon which was yet to be spilt the blood of twelve 
centuries of freemen. 

During the Commonwealth the code of practice had continually im- 
proved. To this brilliant period, and not to the murky twilight of the 


ninth century, do we owe our institute of Trial by Jury. During the 
empire, the code of practice, which was now no longer a growth, but 
a survival, was rearranged by Salius Julianus, approved by the em-' 
peror Hadrian, and petrified by a Perpetual edict of the complaisant 
senate. So effectually was all developement of the law arrested by 
sacred imperialism, that lawyers no longer quoted the decisions or 
dicta of the praetors. They preferred to depend on the principles 
contained in the works of the old jurisconsults. It was the last effort 
of reason to make headway against the hierarchy, and it failed. For 
all this, such is the wonderful tenacity and longevity of free institu- 
tions, that many of the ancient principles found their way into the 
Pandects. The race of lawyers had died out, their profession was dis- 
honoured, their learning despised, but the eternal principles of justice 
which they had wrought into a code and sheltered from violence in 
the mysterious jargon of their craft, was preserved for the use of a 
distant and thankless posterity. The latest of these legal treatises 
are those of the Proculians, who flourished during the interval from 
the Antonines to Alexander Severus, and whose names have been al- 
ready mentioned. Their legal principles do not belong to their own 
times, but to the dead republic, whose dirge they sang and whose spirit 
they embalmed. From this period to the fifth century what little re- 
mained of forensic culture in the Roman empire seems to have been 
transferred to the provinces, for we hear little of it in Rome. Early 
in that century two legal collections were made, chiefly of imperial 
edicts and rescripts, or Orders in Council, from Hadrian toConstantine, 
the one by Gregorius, the other by Hermogenes, whose respective 
names they still bear. These compilations were supplemented by the 
Theodosian code, said to have been published in 438 by order of the 
emperor Theodosius II., and containing only the laws promulgated 
after the revival of a republican religion, together with some frag- 
ments of the earlier collections.* Among these laws are to be found 
the edicts of Theodosius I., establishing and ordering the observance 
of the new religion throughout the empire, deposing the bishops and 
priests of the old religion, condemning heretics, in some cases to the 
punishment of death, altering the lex crimen majestatis to an In- 
quisition, forbidding sacrifices, and confirming to ecclesiastics many 
judicial and municipal functions formerly exercised by secular 

Modern familiarity with the provisions of this code has been derived 

* Hallam, 676. On the forg^eries and corruptions in the Theodosian Code consult 
Gibbon, 11, 307^. 


chiefly from the Lex Romana, or Breviarium Alaricianum/ compiled 
by Count Goiaric, comes palatini, in the reign and by the order of 
Alaric II., at Aire (south-western France) in the year 504 and promul- 
gated at Toulouse in 506. The collection of Alaric contains the Theo- 
dosian code (sixteen books); the laws of the emperors Theodosius, 
Yalentinian, Marcian, Majorian, andSeverus; the Institutes of Gains; 
the Receptae Sententiae of Paulus; the Gregorian code (thirteen titles) ; 
the Hermoginian code (two titles) ; and a passage from Papian's work, 
erroneously called the Liber Responsorum. These laws and juridicial 
materials are followed by the Interpretations, which consist of altera- 
tions, adaptations and explanations, inserted by the ecclesiastical and 
civil jurisconsults of Gaul, who were employed by Alaric. This code 
clothes the Church with many prerogatives and powers formerly vested 
in the civil magistrates, as wills, wardships, the emancipation of slaves, 
and control over the municipal systems and works.' The Lex Romana, 
sometimes alluded to as the law of the Visigoths, was used throughout 
Gothic France, Spain, and Lombardy ; in the former countries until 
the Saracenic invasion, and in the latter, until the fall of Desiderius 
and the transfer of his dominions to the Papacy. 

In 5 28, during the first year of the reign of Justinian, he issued, from 
his court at Constantinople, a decree which provided for the revision 
and recodification of the Gregorian, Hermoginian, and Theodosian 
codes. The work was entrusted to a commission of nine advocates, 
all of the new faith. At the head of this body was Tribonian.* This 
work was completed and promulgated at Constantinople in 529, and 
is now known as the Codex Vetus. It is no longer extant, having been 
superceded, six years later, by a Revised code, (Codex Repetilas Prae- 
lectionis,) which embraced the constitutions of Justinian and the over- 
flow of, (or the disputed principles which the compilers hesitated to 
incorporate in,) the Digest, next to be mentioned. In 530 a further 
commission, this time composed of seventeen lawyers, headed by Tri- 
bonian, were entrusted with the more arduous task of digesting the 
whole body of the law and of reducing it to moderate proportions. 
This measure opened the door to the only gleams of freedom which 
enlighten the gloomy compendium. The task was commenced forth- 

* Guizot says the former was the original name, and that the latter was not emplojred 
until the sixteenth century. Hist. Civ., 11, 8. 'Guizot, ii, 8-11. 

* Philosopher, poet, astronomer, essayist, lawyer, politician, financier, courtier, and 
sycophant. It was Tribonian who, in fulsome admiration of his imperial patron, feared 
that Justinian, like Romulus, (why not also like Julius Caesar and Augustus, Oh wily 
Tribonian ?) would be snatched away into the air and translated alive to Heaven! 
Procop., Anecd., c. 13, and Suidas, iii, 501. 


with; the work is said to have been completed and promulgated at 
Constantinople in 533. 

The materials at hand were, first, the Twelve Tables, the acts of the 
Commons and senate, the decrees and decisions of the consuls, prae- 
tors, tribunes, censors, and other magistrates, and the writings of the 
old republicans, such as Cato, the Scaevolas, Sulpicius, Marcus Junius 
Brutus, (father of the regicide,) Varrus, Cicero, Marcus Manilius, 
Labeo, and others. No use whatever was made of these materials; 
they were tinctured with liberty, and were swept out of sight at once, 
never again to be recovered, except in the fragmentary allusions of 
historians." The Pandects, as they remain to-day, though they em- 
l)ody the wisdom and sometimes the political spirit of these ancient 
authorities, have refused to transmit the language of these authorities 
to posterity. The Pandects embrace such of the principles and com- 
mentaries of the later (imperial,) jurisconsults,as the compilers agreed 
between themselves, or separately ventured, to introduce into the 
work. Some of these are given entire, others are mutilated or assigned 
to a false author or period, sometimes to borrow authority for a corrupt 
opinion, sometimes with apparently no worse motive than to secure 
their preservation. These literary infidelities, or forgeries, appear 
upon comparing the Pandects with the Code and with the treatises 
recovered in recent years from palimpsests. 

Substantially the work is a Digest of Roman law during the empire, 
from Hadrian to Alexander Severus, and that only in a restricted 
sense, for most of the laws relating to the Julian or Augustan and to 
the more ancient religions, are carefully suppressed. Notwithstand- 
ing this limited scope, many principles and allusions were unwittingly 
allowed to remain, whose roots reached back to a purer age than that 
of Julianism. This, indeed, is what afterwards brought it under the 
ban of the Church. The Digest was prepared in the interests of the 
New Religion and by members of the new communion, and it was 
intended to supercede the laws and principles which had grown up 
with imperial paganism, so that the latter might be utterly destroyed 
and forgotten. But the establishment of a new religion, if coupled 
with the destruction of an old one, are not such easy matters as we 
have been taught to believe. Temples may be overthrown, sepulchres 
violated, testaments burned, epistles forged, ceremonies misappro- 
priated, or symbols perverted, but behind all these are the laws of 
persons and property, the customs of the people, the idioms of lan- 

*^ They had previously been *' cleared away by the axe of imperial mandates and 
constitutions," says the gloomy Tertullian. Apol., iv, 50. Gibbon, iv, 361. 


guage, the nummulary system, and other monuments of the past, which 
neither religious hatred can alter, nor religious zeal destroy. The 
works of Justinian reveal many of these monuments. They unwittingly 
conserve much of that ancient spirit which they were expressly de- 
signed to efface." They disclose the age when the Levitical law was 
first studied at Rome," and they prove that slavery, polygamy, the 
exposure of children, and many other forms of wickedness and crime, 
which modern Christianity has condemned and eradicated, were legal- 
ized and permitted at a time, when, if the accepted story of its origin 
were true, the Christian religion had but recently issued fresh and full 
of vigor from the portals of Divine Authority. Between 534 and 565 
the Pandects were frequently altered by new edicts, novellae, which 
have since been admitted into the body of that compilation. Some 
of these disclose the venality of the emperor, while others mark the 
avidity of the church." 

The Institutes are modelled on those of Caius, or Gains, an eminent 
jurisconsult under the Antonines, nearly the whole of whose priceless 
work has been within recent years recovered from a palimpsest of the 
monk Lactantius. The plan of the Institutes embraces the general 
principles of law concerning Persons, Things, Actions, Private Wrongs, 
Public Wrongs, and Crimes; and it was inevitable that within this 
generous scope much was included that failed to harmonize with either 
the politics, the church, the interests, or the moral code, which Justin- 
ian practiced or professed, and between which he continually vacil- 
lated." The Institutes are said to have been promulgated at Con- 
stantinople the same year as the Pandects, so that the three great legal 

^' ** The laudable desire of conciliating ancient names with recent institutions de- 
stroyed the harmony and swelled the magnitude of the obscure and irregular system." 
Gibbon, iv, 415. 

" The Levitical laws were certainly known in Rome during the reign of Hadrian, 
for Juvenal, writing at that period, describes some of them with minuteness : ' ' Quidam 
sortite metuentem Sabbata patrem, nil prseter nubes, et coeli numen adorant, nee distare 
putant humana carne suillam, qu& pater abstinuit, mox et prseputia ponunt, Romanas 
autem soliti contemnere leges, Judaicum ediscunt, et servant ac metuunt jus, tradidit 
arcano quodcunque volumine Moses: non monstrare vias, eadem nisi sacra colenti, 
quaesitum ad fontem solos deducere verpos. Sed pater in causa cui septima quaeque 
fuit lux ignava, et partem vitae non attigit uUum." Sat. xiv, 96. But there is no evidence 
of the adoption of any of them until the reigns of Constantine, Theodosius, and Jus- 
tinian, when their heavier punishments were employed to check adultery, sodomy, and 
other crimes of kindred nature. 

" Forged bequests to the church, dated thirty or forty years back, were legalized by 
a retrospective edict, novella, which extended the claims of the church to the term of 
a century. After serving its fraudulent purpose, this law was repealed. Procopius, 
Anecdot., c. 28. ** Gibbon, iv, 380, n. 


monuments ascribed to this reign all saw the light within the six years, 

Like Julius who employed Sosigenes, and Augustus who retained 
Manilius, to regulate the calendar, so Justinian is said to have secured 
the services of Dionysius Exiguus, to abolish the Julian sera, to cal- 
culate and promulgate the sera of Christ, and to utilize the ceremo- 
nials and fit the calendar of the new religion to the festivals already 
consecrated by immemorial custom. If this account can be relied upon 
the labours of this ingenious monk mark the fact thaf both of Jus- 
tinian's reforms, those of the Law and of the CzQendar, were under- 
taken at the same time, and with apparently the same motive, to blot 
out and efface all knowledge and memory of the sinful religion with 
which Rome daily insulted the majesty of the Creator and to substi- 
tute in its place the purer worship of Christ. The reforms proposed 
l3y Dionysius are ascribed to the year 525, but even if invented at 
that period, which is by no means certain, they probably had no practi- 
cal ef!icacyin Constantinople nor in Rome until a much later period. 

All the legal collaborations of Justinian, known collectively as the 
Corpus Juris Civilis, were prepared originally in Latin and afterwards 
translated into Greek. If the narrative handed down to us is true 
they were promulgated in Rome when the arms of Belisarius restored 
Italy to the empire." It is alleged that before this time many of the 
so-called barbarian (but really provincial or Romance) systems of law 
were constructed, and evidently to some extent upon the basis of the 
Twelve Tables and the Theodosian code. The Lex Romana ascribed 
to Alaric II. has been already mentioned, but it is claimed that pre- 
vious to this, about A. D. 500, Theodoric, his predecessor on the 
Ostrogothic throne, had promulgated a code of laws based on that 
of Theodosius. It is also said that about the same date Clovis ro- 
manized the laws of the Salic Franks and that about 517 Sigismund, 
feudal king of Burgundy, promulgated a code of laws drawn from 
similar sources. The code of the Ripuarian Franks and of the Ba- 
varians ascribed to Dagobert and the Anglo-Saxon code attributed 
to Ethelbert, were probably compiled originally during or else after 
the seventh century. They all bespeak the study of the Theodosian 
code, and, like that compendium, they mark, if genuine, the date on 
or near which the new religion was first introduced into the several 
countries to which they relate. Nor was what may be termed the 

^^ According to the mutilated text of Procopius and the calculations of Father Pagi, 
this was in 536, but the date is only to be received provisionally. It does not say much 
for the enterprise of our college presses, that the Civil Law has never been published 
in the vernacular. 


Theodosian phase of religion without its legal celebrities, for example^ 
Auvergnat Andarchius, in the sixth, and St. Bonet;and Bishop Didies 
of Cahors, in the seventh century. 

The story of the loss and providential discovery of the Pandects, 
at Amalfi in 1135 is a fable. '° They were never lost and never found. 
When the legislation of Justinian was substituted for that of Theo^ 
dosius, copies of the Pandects were, in like manner, sent to all the 
provinces. The evidence of this fact will be found in the altered 
structure of the so-called barbarian codes. The Arabian Mahomet, 
the Frankish Charlemagne, the Anglo-Saxon Alfred, and the Spanish 
Alfonso, were all familiar either with the Pandects or else the Civil 
Law from which it was drawn ; and, both at Damascus, Aix-la-Cha- 
pelle, York and Leon, schools existed where its study was pursued. 
The forms of the Parisian monk Marculfas, seventh century, the 
studies of Hincmar, ninth century, and the laws of Sancho IV., of 
Aragon," all denote familiarity with the Civil Law. In 1117 the Pan- 
dects were expounded at Chartres by a Christian bishop, whose Gothic 
name of Ivan, betrays the reason of his fidelity to a Ghibelline em- 
peror. The Pandects were taught at Constantinople early in the 
twelfth century; at Bologna before 1118 by Irnerius; at Canterbury 
in II 38 by Theobald of Normandy; at Oxford in 1147 by Vicarius 
of Bologna; and at Montpelier during the same century by Placentius. 
It was only after ecclesiastical Rome had succeeded in placing her 
foot upon the neck of the German emperor, that her priests could not 
find the Pandects; and the reason of this was that its pages, though 
they had been prepared under the sanction of a so-called Christian 
emperor, did not sustain her ambitious and growing pretensions. 
Then it was that the study of the Civil Law was suppressed byintoK 
erance and supplanted by new forgeries and impostures." 

The medieval church of Rome cursed the law, reviled it, and spat 
upon it; she excommunicated those who presumed to study it, and 
would have destroyed it, as she had destroyed thousands of other 
monuments and records of antiquity." Wherever and whenever the 

'* This fable, accepted by Blackstone, Robertson, Henry, and numerous other au- 
thors, disappeared from history after it had the misfortune to fall under the merciless 
scrutiny of Gibbon. " Calcott's Spain, i, 287. 

" The study of the Civil Law in the universities of Paris and Oxford was prohibited 
by the Popes. Hallam's Middle Ages, 677. 

*' The same Gregory who is said to have introduced Christianity into Britain had 
burned the library of the Palatine which had been founded by Augustus; had forbidden 
the study of the Roman anthors, particularly of Livy; had destroyed manuscripts, 
mutilated inscriptions and statues; had defaced temples and endeavoured to destroy 
all the evidences of Roman civilization and religion. Draper, chap. xii. 


imperial authority prevailed, will the Civil Law be found, and wherever 
and whenever the papal authority prevailed, the Civil Law was either 
lost, or rendered difficult of access. But all in vain. ** No power was 
ever based on foundations so sure and deep as those which Rome 
laid. ♦ ♦ ♦ It was imperishable because it was universal. ♦ * ♦ When 
her military power departed, her sway over the world of thought be- 
gan ♦ ♦ ♦ and her language, her theology, her laws, her architecture, 
made their way where the eagles of war had never flown." " 

The Roman law of Britain was derived originally from those purer 
streams which were afterwards filled up with the coarse materials of 
Justinian's edifice. We may believe that the law school of York, in 
the fourth century, drew its inspiration from the jurisconsults of the 
Commonwealth and the early empire, and from the works of Labeo 
rather than those of Capito. In the earlier courts of the heptarchy 
both the study and the practice of the Roman law was suspended ; 
with the introduction of the new religion it was revived; except that 
for the works of the old masters were substituted those of Theodo- 
sius and Justinian. When in the ninth century the ecclesiastical es- 
tablishment of Rome attempted to throw off all allegiance to the 
empire, whether Eastern or Western, it began to create its own sys- 
tem of jurisprudence, the basis of which was the Roman law," the 
forged charter of St. Peter, the municipal powers granted by the em- 
perors, the decrees of its own Councils, and the ordinances of its own 
bishops." The ecclesiastical system beginning with the ninth century 
is what Hallam called ''the canon law, fabricated only for an usur- 
pation that can never be restored." " It was frequently recompiled 
before it was arranged in imitation of the Pandects, a task which was 
performed by the Italian monk Gratian, in 1140; it must therefore 
have assumed the form of a complete system at a much earlier date, 
probably at the close of the Carlovingian aera. By the twelfth century 
the extravagant claims of the papacy, which, as though doubtful of 
its reward in heaven, claimed everythinging in sight on earth, drove 
society to seek refuge in the less exacting code of Justinian, and we 

•• Brycc, p. 370. 

" That there was an ancient canon Law is evinced by the fact, mentioned in Livy, 
IX, 46, that until A. U. 449 the Sacred college kept secret the Code of Procedure in 
civil cases, and thus held that control over the administration of the Civil law which it 
tried to obtain in everything. Under the hierarchy the canon Law again became the 
controlling law of Rome. 

** Every Roman bishop, whether pagan or Christian, was a pope, a title that was no^ 
limited to the chief bishop, or pontiff, of Rome, until 1037, by decretal of Gregory. 

*s Hallam*s Middle Ages. 678. 


find that this was studied at Aragon and Chartres before it was *' dis- 
covered " at Amalfi. 

These circumstances, coupled with others alluded to elsewhere in this 
work, enable us to arrive at more or less certain inferences with regard 
to the influence ofthe Roman law in Britain. They leave us to infer 
that the law of all Britain down to the fourth century was substantially 
the law of the Roman Commonwealth, that is to say of Rome before 
feudalism had settled into a matured system; ** that this also con- 
tinued to be the law of those isolated cities of Britain which preserved 
their Roman government after the Gothic risings; that although at- 
tempts were made by Alfred, Edgar, and Edward Confessor, to amal- 
gamate the Mercian, Danish and West Saxon codes into one common 
law, all these attempts failed; and that in Britain generally — if such 
an expression is admissable where there was no sole monarchy, and, 
certainly so far as Wessex is concerned, no entirely independent one — 
in Britain generally, the Gothic codes, largely modified by feudal and 
local customs and increasingly modified by such provisions of the 
Theodosian and Justinian codes as the pontificate permitted to be in- 
troduced, was the law of the land ; that between the ninth and twelfh 
century the Roman law, which at this period largely assumed the ap- 
pearance of a purely ecclesiastical code, entirely usurped the place 
of the early Romance codes; and that in the thirteenth century the 
more secular phases of the Roman law again came in to displace the 
canon law and constitute that common law of England, which, to-day, 
freed more and more from its feudal and canonical corruptions, forms 
one of the glories of the British constitution.' 


^ In the author's ** Middle Ages Revisited " evidences are adduced from Josephus 
concerning the existence of feudalism in the earliest days of the Empire. 

'^ ''Although the vestiges of the Colisseum and of the Vatican shall crumble away 
from the face of the earth, the institutions, the laws, and the fortunes of Rome, will not 
have ceased to be inseparably interwoven with the destinies of mankind." Sir F. Pal- 
grave, p. 317. ** The ruins of ancient Rome supplied the materials of a new city; and 
the fragments of her law, which have already been wrought into the recent codes of 
France and Prussia, will probably, under other names, guide far distant generations 
by the sagacity of Modestinus and Ulpian." Hallam, 678. 




Developement of political liberty — Caste — Councils — Legislatures — The Commons 
of the Curiata was based upon rank — The Centuriatanpon wealth — The Tributa upon 
respectability — These legislatures were successively destroyed by ecclesiasticism, and 
all knowledge of them was lost until after the Fall of the Sacred empire in 1204 — That 
event was immediately followed by the resuscitation of the Commons — The English 
House of Commons is the direct offspring of the Roman Comitia and has nothing what- 
ever to do with the barbarian Witenagemote. 

THE same false lightswhich have led the modern historian to search 
for the germs of feudalism in the simple structures of barbarian 
communities, have misled him with respect to the origin of the House 
of Commons. This has been traced to the witenagemotes of the North- 
em chieftains. We shall endeavour to show that such an opinion is 
without foundation. 

The essential principle of a House of Commons is happily expressed 
in its name. It is a peaceful assemblage of the common people, a term 
that implies a limited or representative body, that is to say,as many 
of the common people as can be conveniently assembled in a house, 
or some other enclosure. There is still another implication which may 
fairly be deduced from the term House of Commons, namely, the co- 
existence and coordination of another house, not a House of Com- 
mons. This could only be a house of nobles, or priests; in other 
words, a senate. As a matter of fact, there is no instance in history 
of a House of Commons without a senate. And the reason of this is 
evident. Political liberty is not bom with communal life, but is the 
fruit of its evolution. The day that men commenced to live together, 
gave birth, not to freedom, but to slavery. It was only after they had 
lived together some thousands of years that they became so much 
alike, in fortune, endowments, capacity and opportunities, as to ren- 
der political liberty possible. One of the necessary steps from des- 
potism and slavery, to equality and freedom, is a legislature; and if 
these views be admitted, it follows that, in the early stages of itsde- 
velopment, the legislature, originating in a council, must be an as- 


semblage of nobles, or of men belonging to some superior order. 
Consequently, when in course of time a legislature is formed by the 
people, it finds itself in the presence of a pre-existing legislature, 
which was formed by the nobles.^ 

The legislatures of all the earlier states of antiquity were assem- 
blages of priests and nobles, never of the common people, until such 
assemblages were formed in Greece and Rome. Leaving Greece out 
of view, because it was absorbed into the Roman republic, of which 
it became part, it is not too much to say that, until comparatively re- 
cent times, if one ventured beyond the confines of Roman civilization, 
he would have had to explain who the commons were, and what it was 
which enabled them to assemble and legislate. Even at the present 
day, with the anomalous and quite recent exception of Japan, there 
is no state, not erected upon the remains of Roman institutes, which 
possesses a House of Commons,or a popular assemblage with legisla- 
tive power. In Russia, the foremost of them all, after some two 
thousand years of communal existence, a thousand of which have been 
enriched by the teachings of the gospels, there is only a Senate, which 
is an assemblage of nobles and prelates. There is no House of Com- 
mons; no general convocation of the people to make laws for the em- 
pire ; no self government. The sun of liberty has never dawned for 
the moujik. His political world is surrounded by a firmament of im- 
penetrable darkness, illumined only by the lurid firebrands of nihilism, 
and the deceptive smirk of his gilded icons. 

Nor is a Senate the first step of those institutes which ascend from 
despotism to liberty; there are many previous ones. Among these is 
the Council, the essential difference between which and a Senate be- 
ing that the latter has legislative power, whilst the Council has not. 

' In the northern Arcadia, depicted by Tacitus, the whole people, nobles as well as 
commons, all of them armed to the teeth and provided with seats, came tog^ether at in> 
tervals to enact measures offered by the king and approved by the priests. (Germania, 
xi-xii.) From this fanciful text the exuberant Brottier derives the Merovingian champs 
de Mars, the Carlovingian champs de Mai, and finally the states-general. Mallet, I28» 
found the remains of several of these German houses of commons, which proved to be 
neither German, nor houses, nor common. One was near Lunden, in Scania, (southern 
Sweden,) a second at Leyra, or Lethra, in Zealand, and a third near Viburg, in Jutland. 
They each consisted of thirteen stone seats, twelve in a circle, the thirteenth in the middle ; 
the former for the council, the latter for the king. This assemblage (as we read) was 
guarded by soldiers, who performed the part of a claque to the drama going on within. 
Beyond the soldiers stood the unarmed populace. The numbers of this council proclaim 
its Buddhic foundation. It had remotely the same origin as the campus martins, thecomi- 
tia.the twelve jurymen of the Roman CommonweaIth,the champs deMars,and the states- 
general; but it was immediately neither the origin nor the offspring of these institutes. 


Many of the roving tribes whom the Europeans found in America had 
pow-wows, or councils. These assemblages consisted of sachems and 
wizards (medicine-men) whose collective function it was to counsel 
or advise the Chief. The peculiar phases which such a body might 
assume, in the long process of evolution from a tribal council to a 
legislature, and the local form and colour, which it might derive from 
the peculiar civilization with whose affairs it was concerned, might 
conceal the process of metamorphosis; but it could not destroy the 
essential difference between two such bodies, when viewed historic- 
ally. It is not known that any of the American tribal councils ever 
acquired power to make laws which commanded the obedience of their 
tribes. Neither is it believed that any of the European tribal witen- 
agemotes became legislatures. They were simply what their name 
expressed. Gemote is an assemblage ;wita is a wit, or wizard. Awiten- 
agemote was therefore simply, what with reference to the Indians was 
called, a pow-wow, a council of medicine-men and sachems, to advise 
the Chief; nothing more." 

To claim for such a rudimentary convocation the varied and unlim* 
ited powers, the experience, deliberation, self-restraint, decorum, 
gravity, and dignity, of a Senate, or still more daringly, to claim for 
it identity with an assemblage of the Commons, in which a whole 
people, either in person or by representatives, meet to impose laws 
upon themselves and thus exercise a fuction out of whose majestic 
attributes, man, in the archaic ages, fashioned a Brahma, a Buddha, 
or a Moses — ^is to ignore the slow genesis of all social institutes, and 
leave out of view the entire history of Roman civilization. Between 
the tribal councils of the Saxons and the English House of Commons 
there is essentially less than a single lifetime, whilst there are no less 
than fifteen centuries of historical evolution; and the history cannot 
be crowded into the time. Neither is there any gradual, or natural mer- 
ger. About the time of Alfred, the councils of the Anglo-Saxon chief- 
tains became councils of petty kings, and in the reign of William they 
became the single council of a **sole monarch;"" but while these 
changes bespeak an evolution of the kingly power, they indicate no 
alteration in the nature of the council. It was still fundamentally 
what it had been in the earliest days of the witenagemote, an assem- 
blage of wizards and warriors, or of prelates and nobles, to advise 

' Pow-wow is an English, not an Indian term. It was originally applied, in derision, 
to the jargon and strange rites of the medicine-men, and afterwards, by metonym, to the 
assemblages in which they took part. In point of fact, the Indian councils were not noisy. 

' Lord Coke, in referring to the "parliament " of Edward Confessor, 1041, meant by 
that name, a council, not a legislature. 


the chieftain, now the king. It had no legislative power, not even 
over the classes from which it was recruited.* The great mass of the 
people had no concern with it, indeed under the Norman dynasty 
there was no people. Roman ecclesiasticism had long since destroyed 
their political existence. There were no representatives of the people. 
There was a subjugated nation, not the victims of a military con- 
quest, but the nameless * slaves of an insidious hierarchy. This nation 
was deeply imbued with the germs of religious and political liberty; 
but until after the Fall of Constantinople these germs rarely saw the 
light, and the English peasant of that period had little more practi- 
cal acquaintance with political liberty, than the Russian moujik oif 
to-day. In the numerous allusions to the Royal Council which oc- 
cur in the pages of Matthew Paris, whose annals bring us down to 
the year 1259, it is always called the King's Council or the Curia 
Regis, or the King's Parliament, and is invariably described as an ad- 
visory board, never as a legislature.* 

The secular spirit of the Gothic race, though subdued by Roman 
witchery, was not destroyed. In every Saxon and Norman breast there 
lurked an undying hatred to hierarchy. In the earlier Roman litera- 
ture, many vestiges of which reached the hands of the Norman nobles 
of this period, every page breathed the spirit of the old republican 
liberty. When the muddy waters of the Sacred empire subsided, the 
ancient Ark of Liberty drifted into view and sent forth its Dove and 
its olive branches of ** peace on earth and good-will to men." These 
tokens of amity and political liberty were found, not in the miraculous 
Aurea Legenda, but in the pages of the Roman historians and the 

^ It was the same in the other Roman provinces. Alcubilla claims a cortes for Leon, 
•vnth '*the popular element/* in 1021. Diccionario de la Administracion £spafioIa,porD. 
Marcelo Martinez Alcubilla, Madrid, i886,art. '* Cortes." But this was a mere council of 
nobles and prelates to advise the king. It is mentioned by Hallam, (250,) who says that 
in its presence *' Alfonso V. established the privileges of that city." If the king did his 
ivill, it was no cortes in the modern sense, but only a council; a fact clearly admitted 
by Hallam, 259. The " deputies of cities" are mentioned in the cortes of 1188, (first 
year of AlfonsoIX. of Leon.) but the burghers had nothingto do with their appointment, 
and they had no legislative power, when they met. (Hallam, 260.) The first legislative 
cortes was that of Aragon, during the reign of Peter III., 1276-85, and consisted of four 
classes, prelates, lords, knights, and commons. The first states-general, in France, was 
in 1302. 

' The commons,or people of the third estate, had no family names until after the period 
of Magna Charta,nor were such names common until the Reign of Edward III. Indeed, 
the rise, continuance, and fall, of the Roman Comitia and the modem Commons, and 
the use, disuse, and resumption, of family names of the people, were synchronal. M. A. 
I^owers, ** Dictionary of English Surnames." 

*See, for composition of '* Parliament" in the year 1246, Matthew Paris, 11, 148. 


principles of the Roman law. The union of the Gothic spirit of free- 
dom and the literature of the Roman republic, bred a constant demand 
for some engine of legislation other than the Sacred college of Rome. 
To this demand England's priest-ridden king was forced to yield. No 
sooner had Constantinople fallen than John issued a writ, or writing, 
dated in 1205, summoning the prelates and barons of the kingdom 
to a convocation. This is the first writ of the kind on official record 
in England; the first one, the text of which is acually extant, bears 
the date 1265.* So cautiusly did the convocation first summoned by 
John assume legislative powers, that afterwards it actually agreed to 
submit a Compact (the Provisions of Oxford) which it made with his 
successor, Henry III., to the approval of the king of France, who in 
fact annulled it, at Amiens, January 23rd, 1264. It was not until 1295 
that the representatives of the burghs, the burgesses, were invited to 
form a portion, a second chamber, of the Parliament; nor until 1327, 
when it deposed Edward II., that it assumed the right, in cases of 
emergency, to act independently of the crown. Parry dates the com- 
mencement of legislative functions after the beginning of Edward's 
reign ; the dethronement of the king proves that these functions be- 
came completely matured in the rapid course of twenty years. In 
other words, from the time when the king's parliament was a single 
body and a mere council, to the time when it became a dual body and 
a complete legislature, was an interval of 1 ess than a quarter of a century. 
Now, what is it that could have so suddenly converted the witenage- 
mote, or the king's advisory council, into two legislative bodies, one 
representing the churchmen and nobles, the other the boroughs and 
citizens, and both together exercising the right to make laws for the* 
kingdom, and even to depose the king himself? Nothing whatever; 
for no such miracle took place. The two things are totally dissimilar, 
and belong to phases of civilization very, very, far apart. They do not 
fit, they do not match, they do not merge, there is, so to speak, no 
continuous lode, or vein. The Saxon witenagemote and the English 
legislature are separated, not merely by a single regnal period, nor 
even by that immense interval of time which elapsed between the Ro- 
man Commonwealth and the accession of Edward III., but also by 
dissonance of origin, history, and function. The composition and 
powers of the two bodies were fundamentally different. The witen- 
agemote was merely an advisory council of the king, and consisted 
of such prelates and nobles as he chosed or deemed it wise or politic 
to summon; the Houses of the Lords and Commons was a legislature: 

^ Parry, " Parliaments and Councils of England." 


the latter consisted of such members of the commonalty as were ap- 
pointed or elected according to law, and it had the right to assemble 
and exercise its functions. The interval of time which elapsed be- 
tween the Comitia of Rome and the Commons of England might pos- 
sibly have been sufficient, under favourable circumstances, to develope 
a barbarian pow-wow, or council, into a senate, or a House of Lords; 
but twice that interval of t!me would not have sufficed to mature it 
into a popular legislature or House of Commons. The latter, there- 
fore, could not have sprung from the witenagemote. 

As for that opinion of the Sorbonne which was voiced by the learned 
Guizot, that modern legislatures derive their origin from the so-called 
Christian ecclesiastical councils of the dark ages, it is hardly worth 
the trouble of refuting.* There is even less connection between such 
bodies as these are described to have been, than between a popular 
legislature and a barbarian witenagemote. The Brahminical, the 
Egyptian, and the Levitical codes, all of them some thousands of years 
ago, gave birth to ecclesiastical councils; but neither of them, nor any 
other hierarchical system, ever bred a legislature; and it is tolerably 
safe to predict that they never will breed one. The supposed develope- 
ment of the Saxon witenagemote into a legislative chamber chosen 
by the people, has been the theme of historians who were anxious to 
prove the superiority of all Anglo-Saxon institutions. Let us en- 
deavour to follow the English House of Commons from an earlier and 
more natural, if less flattering, source. 

Omitting from view the legislative assemblies previously established 
in Greece, as opening too wide a field of research, and confining the 
view entirely to Rome, it soon becomes evident that in the matured 
institutions of that great state, and not in the customs of shifting and 
predatory tribes, are to be found the origin of the English House of 
Commons and other modern legislatures. In early Rome the citizens 
— and these,it must be remembered, were a select and limited,or repre- 
sentative, class — were enrolled in several different organizations; at 
first into tribes and parishes, afterward into census classes. During 
several centuries these organizations existed contemporaneously; but 
in serving, as each of them did, at one time or another, for a legis- 
lative assembly, they successively exerted all, or nearly all, the con- 
stitutional powers of the Commons. Thus, during the reign or pre- 

* Guizot concealed a fact which the epigraphic monuments establish beyond question, 
namely, that the concilia of the Dark Ag^es were not Christian assemblages, but idol- 
atrous organizations, to practice and enforce the worship of Augustus Caesar, as the 
pretended son of God. Rnshf orth. 


Talence of the comitia Centuriata, the Curiata was a decayed assembly, 
Avhich only retained some ceremonial and trifling remains of its ancient 
power; whilst the Tributa, not yet conscious of its eventful future, 
was little more than a popular club, with power to elect certain minor 
public officials. (Dio. Hal., iv, 20.) Each of these successive comitias 
or Houses of Commons was linked to a senate, whose composition 
and powers, from time to time, will now be briefly mentioned. The 
senate which Romulus is said to have created consisted of one hun- 
dred patricians, of whom the thirty curiae or parishes of Rome,chosed 
three each. The three tribes, into which all the citizens, (parishioners 
•or not, ) were divided, also chosed three each, and the king the remaining 
one. The senators were afterward chosen by the censors, but only 
from among those patricians who had served a necessary apprentice- 
ship in the military and civil services. Some authors hold that Romulus, 
others that Tarquinius, increased the senate to the sacred 300 which 
composed its numbers down to the time of Sylla. The senate of the 
archaic period were the guardians of religion, of the sibylline books, 
of the treasury, the army, and the navy; of subsidiary kings, and of 
allied cities; they appointed all ambassadors out of their own body, 
they appointed the public magistrates, judges and priests, they treated 
with foreign nations, they conferred military honours and triumphs, 
they could bestow the title of king, they declared war or peace, they 
formed a court for the trial of treason, and other high crimes ; and they 
oould proclaim and enforce martial law in times of peace. 

When the middle class had greatly increased in numbers and influ- 
ence there was added to the senate that second chamber or assembly 
already mentioned, called the comitia Curiata, upon which some of the 
powers of the senate were conferred. This chamber is commonly de- 
scribed as an assembly of all the plebians, but the correctness of such a 
view is not quite free from doubt.* Rather does it seem to have been a 
representative body, consisting of delegates from the thirty religious 
congregations, or parishes, into which Rome and the three tribes were 
divided. These delegates were chiefly, if not all, of the middle class. 
They voted in the Curiata by parishes, each one of which had its own 
temple and its own religious congregation, each curia having one 
vote. The vote of sixteen curiae, no matter how few or many suffra- 
gans it represented, was sufficient to carry or defeat any measure, or to 
elect the king, or any other magistrate ; for such was one of the pow- 
ers conferred upon this comitia by the new constitution. The Curiata 
could not be held without authority of the senate, nor could either 

* Consult Livy, vi, 18; xxix, 19; Aul. Cell., xv, 27; Ramshom, 307. 


chamber lawfully meet on the same day as the other. The king was 
elected by both chambers; the inferior magistrates by the Curiata 
alone. With the parish priest behind each vote of the Curiata, and in 
front of it those allurements of military and ecclesiastical preferment 
which the senate could offer to its members, it is easy to infer the 
ecclesiastical and aristocratic tendency of the Curiata, and the dis- 
satisfaction which its composition and proceedings occasioned to the 
citizens of a state, whose institutes owed so much to Greek republi- 
can influence, as did those of Rome. Clouds of ecclesiastical legends 
have obscured the details of this subject, but the outline is percept- 
ible in the assassination, real or pretended, of Romulus, the regula- 
tion of the priesthood by Numa, and the repression of the patricians 
by the emancipated slave Servius Tullius. 

. The constitution established by this king destroyed the power of 
the Curiata by degrading them from the position of a legislature, to 
that of a mere electoral convocation. The Curiata continued to meet 
at intervals, but their function was impaired; and whereas they form- 
erly needed the Campus Martins, they now found plenty of room in 
the Forum. They could still elect the flamines, or change the sacra 
of a citizen, or legitimatize an act of adoption, and perhaps conduct 
trials for high treason; but little more. The citizens soon ceased to 
attend their convocations, and, after the establishment of the Com- 
monwealth, the Curiata gradually sank into oblivion.'*^ Beyond de- 
priving the censors of their power to choose the senators, a power 
which the king took into his own hands, the constitution of Servius 
Tullius made but little change in the powers of the senate. With this 
body was now coordinated a chamber, chosen in an entirely different 
manner from the Curiata. The latter had been based upon rank ; the 
Centuriata was based upon wealth. The individual possessions of the 
the citizens having been ascertained by means of a census, they were 
divided into six classes. Commencing with the richest, thefirstclass 
was subdivided into forty centuries of foot soldiers, eighteen of cav- 
alry, and forty of city guards; each century having a vote in the 
comitia Centuriata. In like manner the second class had twenty-two 
centuries, the third twenty, the fourth twenty-two, the fifth thirty, 
and the sixth, one; in all, 193 centuries. The first rank represented 
the fewest number of citizens, yet had 98, or a majority of all the 
votes; the sixth rank represented more citizens than all the others 
combined, yet it had but one vote. The Centuriata was therefore a 

^^ Toward the close of the Republic thirty lictors were the only representatives of the 
thirty parishes which were represented in the comitia. Cicero, de Lege, Agr., 11, 12. 


limited assembly, representing property, one in which the sixth rank, 
or poorer class, of citizens, was practically without a voice. The as- 
sembly was therefore of aristocratic tendency, yet far less subject, 
than the Curiata had been, to ecclesiastical control. 

As the majority of all the votes prevailed, the first rank, called the 
prerogative century, practically had the comitia to itself. This was 
perhaps not the original constitution of the Centuriata, but that into 
which it settled. The representatives, those who counted the votes 
in this comitia, were nominated at party ** caucuses," or primary, or 
preliminary, elections, and elected by a majority of the century to 
which they respectively belonged. The Centuriata met at first at the 
Campus Martius, probably in the Villa Publica," afterwards at the 
Janiculum. The sessions were opened with prayers and sacred rites.*" 
The speaker, centurio maximo,was then elected. This officer had great 
influence, and among other powers, could grant or withhold the privi- 
lege of a member to the floor. *" The speaker having made his opening 
address, the House was ready for business. Votes were taken at first by 
word of mouth, sometimes by divisions, when the votes were counted 
by the representatives or custodes, afterwards by ballots deposited in 
urns. During the session a standard or flag was hoisted over the Jani- 
culum, and when the comitia adjourned, the flag was hauled down. 

The resemblance of these functions and ceremonies to those which 
distinguish the lower house of the modern British legislature, is so 
remarkable that no further excuse is deemed necessary for calling the 
Roman comitia, what indeed its name indicates it to have been, a 
House of Commons. It is true, that unlike the modern legislature, 
the Roman comitia did not consist of members or representatives 
elected for a term, and only amenable to change or displacement by 
formal impeachment, or when that term was over. In the comitia the 
people could displace their representatives or custodes, at any time. 
But these peculiar modes of expressing the popular will do not mar 
the essential resemblance between the two bodies. They were both 
legislatures, they were legislatures which were designed to express 
the popular will, and which, more or less perfectly, did express it; 
and this is what neither witenagemote nor church-council ever did, or 
ever attempted to do. The manner of voting, the limitations placed 
upon votes, the duration of the citizen's or the delegate's office, the pow- 
ers of the presiding officer,all these are details of minor importance. 

The comitia Centuriata elected the consuls, censors, praetors, and 
other principal magistrates, including the rex sacrarum,and the dec- 
"Lxvy, IV, 22. "Livy, xxxix, 15. "Livy, i, 60; 11, 2; 111, 54; ix, 7. 


emviri. It supplanted the Curiata in sitting as a high court of jus- 
tice in cases of impeachment for treason, and, as we shall presently 
see, furnished the basis of the jury system, by opening its doors to 
any citizen who desired to appeal from the decision of a magistrate 
to the judgement of his peers. In other respects the powers of the 
comitia were connected with those of .the senate. It could only enact 
laws in conjunction with that body. All bills which originated in the 
comitia were committed to writing, and read over aloud, before they 
were put to vote. When passed, they were engrossed and sent to the 
senate." The comitia could be summoned to meet on any lawful day 
by edict of the consuls, or, in their absence, by edict of the praetor. 
This edict had to be issued at least twenty-seven days, three weeks, 
tres nundin3e,in advance of the proposed meeting, an interval which 
gave time for popular heat to cool down. The house was rarely con- 
vened on the nundine or day of rest, because this was to be kept holy, 
no business being allowed." But exceptions were sometimed made.** 
Sessions at which the public magistrates were elected, were usually 
held about six months before their official terms were to commence. 
The censors were exceptions ; their terms commenced immediately af- 
ter their election. All who had the full right of Roman citizens, whether 
they lived at Rome or elsewhere, enjoyed the privilege to visit the 
comitia, but only those within certain ages and otherwise qualified, 
could vote. They were essentially representatives. Candidates for 
offices in the comitia, such as those of custodes, used the same arts 
to gain votes as are employed now; they canvassed the people by vis- 
iting their houses, accosting them in a friendly and respectful manner 
in public, or by addressing them on nundines, or other idle days, from 
the top of some rising ground, or the stump of a tree, or other ele- 
vated place." There were also clubs or sodalities, of voters, mock- 
clubs or * 'strikers, "and, toward the end of the republic, election-agents, 
middle-men and secret dealers in votes.*' 

In the exquisite work of art called the Venus de Milo one cheek is 
higher than the other, the chin is ** lopsided," the brow is low, etc. 
These imperfections have been justly regarded by art-critics as evi- 
dences that the statue was designed from a real, a living, subject. In 
like manner, the very imperfections of the Roman comitia prove that 
it was a real, an actual, a human, institution. On the other hand, the 

"Livy, I, 60; III, 34; V. 52; VI, 20; X, 22; xxxi, 6, 7. 

" Table ill. of the Twelve Tables; Macrob., i, 16. *• Cicero, Att., i, 14. 

"Cicero, Att., i, i; Piso, 23; Horace. Ep. i, 50, 60. etc.; Macrob.. i, 16. 
** Cicero, Plan. 15, 16; Adam, 170; Pliny, Let. vii, 9. 


entire absence of any such blemishes in the Saxon witenagemote^ 
when regarded as a legislature, is sufficient, by itself, to stamp it as 
a mere phantasm, a phantasm which has been conjured up by the ec- 
clesiastical mind, to support its ghostly history of the dark and med- * 
ieval ages. Not only do the modern and the Roman legislatures 
resemble each other in being imperfect, they still more resemble each 
other in the identity of such blemishes. These blemishes, as has been 
shown, were alike in both cases. Thus, not only the structure, as 
before shown, but the very features, of these bodies, betray their 
kinship and the descent of one from the other. When similar features 
can be discovered in the witenagemote, it will be time enough to en- 
quire why it slumbered as a council from the reign of Ina in the sev- 
enth century, to that of Edward II., in the fourteenth, and then woke 
up all of a sudden as a legislature. 

Although the comitia Centuriata was evidently intended to be a sec- 
ular chamber, the unwearied assiduity of the priesthood succeeded 
in bringing it, like its predecessor the Curiata, under ecclesiastical 
subjection. This process began with the innocent custom of opening 
the sessions with prayers and religious rites; then the augurs came 
into play, and no session could be held nor law passed without their 
consent ; then the pontifex-maximus was permitted, when he choosed, 
to interpose a supplication; until, at last, as it had been anciently in 
the Curiata, the transactions of the House came to depend upon the 
eagerness or indifference with which the sacred chickens happened to 
cat their food." As it could not have been a difficult matter for the 
priests to keep two sets of chickens, exactly alike in size and colour, 
the one abstinent, the other recently glutted, it needs no profundity 
of intellect to guess how the chicken trick was worked. 

After the establishment of the Commonwealth, the plebians made 
several attempts to stem the rising tide of ecclesiasticism in the comi- 
tia; but they began too late, and despairing of remedying the evil by 
lawful means, they adopted the revolutionary expedient of escaping 
from both ecclesiastical and patrician control — for these were always 
linked together — ^by withdrawing, in a body, from the city. This they 
did, A. U. 261, encamping first on the Aventine and afterwards on 
Mons Sacer. This procedure led to a Compromise, a new constitu- 
tion, the creation of Tribunes of the Commons, and the supremacy 
of the comitia Tributa over the Centuriata. The first important ses- 
sion of the Tributa was summoned by the tribune Sp. Sicinus, to try 
the impeachment of Coriolanus, A.U. 263. 

" Lucan. Pharsal., v. 392-6. V9 i Q C% *7 H h. 


The basis of this House of Commons was intended to be neither 
church-membership, nor wealth; but character and respectability. 
The various districts of Rome had originally been inhabited by Latins, 
Sabines, and Luceres, or foreigners, each of whom had their own 
neighbourhood. Difference of customs and religion was probably the 
origin of this separation, for it was forbidden to remove out of one 
ward into another." With the growth of the state beyond the mu- 
nicipal limits, this regulation fell into neglect, and Servius Tullius, in 
order to remedy the disorder which followed, had, in A.U. i88, made 
a new division of the people, this time into twenty-one tribes or wards, 
of whom the city contained four, and the suburbs or country, seven* 
teen. It may as well be remarked in this place that, in after times, 
the number of tribes was increased to thirty-five, and that still later, 
that is to say, during the decline of the Commonwealth, the censors 
exercised the invidious power to distribute the citizens into whatever 
tribes they pleased, without regard to race or domicile. But nothing 
of this sort was known to the times of which we are now speaking. 
As the comitia of the twenty-one Tribes proceeded to exercise the 
powers of a legislature, and, in virtue of the Compromise before men- 
tioned, was recognized as such by the senate, the Centuriata, as a 
law-making body, fell into disuse, and so did the more objectionable 
customs that had grown up with it." Indeed, as we shall presently 
see, they were expressly prohibited. By the year A.U. 282, the comi- 
tia Tributa secured the right to elect the public magistrates. After 
that time, their sessions became more frequent, and their proceed- 
ings more interesting. As to their own officers, the custodes,or tellers, 
and the speaker, they were elected in the same manneras were those 
of the Centuriata. In A.U. 299, the people, wearied with the empiri- 
cal rulings of the magistrates, who, though elected by the comitia, 
were chiefly of the patrician and ecclesiastical orders, sought and ob* 
tained another Compromise with the senate. This was to substitute 
for the consuls an executive council of ten patricians. Decemviri, 
who should be obliged to draw up a code of written law and submit 
the same to the Centuriata for approval ; meanwhile the tribunes to 
be suspended. 

In A.U. 305-6, B.C. 449, occurred the tragedy of Virginia, the sec- 
ond secession of the plebeians to the Aventine and Mons Sacer, the 
fall of the Decemviri, and a new treaty between the patricians and 

**Dionys., iv, 14. 

'* So late as the time of Cicero the election of the consuls was declared in the Cen- 
turiata. "According^ to the practice and usage of our forefathers, on that day I declared 
L. Mursena, consul, at the centuriated comitia." Orat. pro Mur., A. U.691. 


commons, which reinstated the consuls and the tribunes of the peo- 
ple, rendered the persons of the latter inviolable, and affirmed the 
authority of the comitia Tributa over all the functions of state. 

It is from this new Constitution that must be dated the real glory of 
Rome: for it is upon this instrument that is founded the supremacy 
of the civil law over military and ecclesiastical law, over caste and privi- 
lege and the superstitious prerogatives, which still distinguishes the 
Western world from the Orient. Nor can it be doubted that this great 
social reform largely promoted and rendered possible the numerical 
system of Money which was established in Rome some three-fourths 
of a century afterwards, and which is fully described in the author's 
* * History of Money. ** One was the necessary complement of the other. 

But Rome never entirely freed itself from the aristocratic influences 
of its earliest form of government. Even in the most democratic times 
there was a body of exclusives who continually conspired to rule the 
state. The new Constitution was hardly established before these self- 
styled patricians sought to limit the powers of the Tributa, by arguing 
from the etymology of their enactments, (plebiscita,) that they only 
bound the plebs; whereupon the Centuriata, to whom the dispute 
seems to have been referred, declared that ** whatever was ordered 
by the Comitia collectively, should bind the whole nation." Not only 
this, but they threw another safeguard around the persons of the popu- 
lar tribunes, by devoting to Jupiter anybody who should offer them an 
injury. The property of such offender — and here is to be seen the an- 
cient ecclesiastical hand — was thoughtfully confiscated to the temple 
of Ceres, Liber, and Libera, the Mother or Spouse, the Son, and the 
Daughter, of the Buddhic or Bacchic god." This last provision implies 
an understanding between the people and the priests who influenced 
the Centuriata. It is perhaps needless to say that the defeat of the 
patricians was not of a lasting character. For a time, indeed, the 
Tributa became the supreme power of the state. Like the English 
House of Commons at the present day, it not only co-operated with 
the senate, it dominated that chamber. It ordered triumphs which 
had been refused by the senate; it absolved certain persons from the 
operation of resolutions passed by the senate; it granted to others the 
freedom of the city; it elected the consuls, the pontifex-maximus, the 
proconsuls, and the propraetors; it decreed that the comitia might be 
convened without consent of the senate; it even dared to abolish the 
auspices and the sacred chickens. These acts of sacrilege had not a 
little to do with its subsequent downfall." It has been generally held 

" Livy, III, 55. "Livy, il, 56-7. 60; ill, 55; v, 52; viii. 12; ix. 38. 


that, in electing the chief-pontiff, only the representatives of seven- 
teen out of the twenty-one tribes voted," and in this view the author 
is disposed to acquiesce; but from the fact that after the expulsion 
of the decemviri, Quintus Furius, who was pontifex-maximus, A. U. 
305-24, summoned the comitia to elect the tribunes of the people, as 
well as from other considerations, it seems likely that at first the entire 
comitia elected the chief-pontiff, and that the other custom only grew 
up at a subsequent date. 

In A. U. 441, Appius Claudius, sumamed Caecus, was censor with 
C. Plautius.*' The former was a descendant of that decemvir of the 
same name who occasioned the tragedy of Virginia. He is, however, 
better known as the builder of the great Aqueduct and the Appian 
Way, both of which monuments of antiquity still survive. In order to 
win the favour of the people, Claudius employed his authority of censor 
to deprive the aristocratic potitii of their fat livings in the temple of 
Hercules, which he conferred upon plebeians; he admitted certain 
upstarts, whose free lineage could only be traced backward for a few 
generations, to the senatorial rank; and he admitted members of the 
plebian tribes into those of aristocratic tendencies, or membership.'* 
For these services to the popular cause the comitia permitted him to 
hold the censorship for five years, and he was twice elected consul^ 
to wit, in A. U. 447 and 448. 

However, the next year Quintus Fabius, surnamed Rullianus, be* 
came censor,and belonging to the opposite party,he at once proceeded 
to undo the heinous work of Claudius, by drafting all obnoxious per- 
sons into the four urban tribes, thus more or less cleansing the other 
seventeen, and rendering them less hostile to the patricians and priests. 
As it was the representatives of seventeen tribes who, after this period, 
(if not before,) elected the chief-pontiff, and as such chief-pontiff — 
though the seventeen tribes who elected him were chosen by lot — 
always proved acceptable to the patrician class, we must believe that 
the choice of these tribes and their choice of the pontifex-maximus 
were both directed by miraculous intervention. The reward of Quintus 
Fabius for his services to the patrician and ecclesiastical party, was 
the surname of Maximus,a title which his military exploits had entirely 
failed to procure him.*' 

In A. U. 416, (Adam says 414 and Lempriere 435,) the dictator 
Publilius Philo ** passed three laws highly advantageous to the com- 
mons and inimical to the nobility, one that the acts of the commons 

•* Cic, Rull., II, 7, '* Consult the Index to this volume. 

" Livy, IX, 46. " Livy, ix, 46; see my ** Middle Ages " Index, voc. " Great." 


should bind all Romans, another that the senate should, previous to 
the taking of the suffrages, declare their approval of all laws which 
should be passed in the Centuriata, and another that one of the censors 
should be elected out of the commons.'*" This is not very explicit. 
Cicero (Brut., 14) attributes the second law to Mcenius, the tribune, 
A. U. 467, so that both the purport, the author, and the date of the 
law, are uncertain. However, it points to the zenith of the power at- 
tained by the comitia. This supremacy of the popular branch of the 
legislature was maintained for some two hundred years, before it be- 
came obscured by the advancing shadow of the offended but patient 
chickens. In connection with the superstitious respect which they 
paid to these fowls, it is curious to note how often and how intimately 
the Romans mingled religious grovelling with the highest form of 
legislative wisdom. An example of this kind is found in the lex Cae- 
cilia Didia, A. U. 658, which forbade the inclusion of more than one 
subject in a Bill, and in another law, which required a periodical pub- 
lication of the public accounts relating to receipts and expenditures. 
There are some modern states which have not attained, even yet, these 
perfections of administration. 

The final decline of the comitia is to be dated from the ill-advised bill 
of the tribune Apuleius Saturninus, who, in A. U. 654 and under the 
auspices of Marius, attempted to revive the measure of Mcenius. 
Saturninus carried a law through the comitia which provided that the 
senators, under penalty of losing their rank, should come to the forum 
and swear to ** confirm whatever the comitia should enact." This was, 
practically, to dispense with the legislative function of the senate al- 
together, a highly dangerous policy in a state which contained a vast 
number of superstitious, uneducated, and indigent citizens. However, 
the senators took the oath — all but the chief-pontiff, Lucius Caecilius 
Metellus,surnamedDalmaticus, who quietly but firmly refused. Where- 
upon the comitia decreed that the consuls should interdict Metellus 
the use of fire and water; and he was banished to Rhodes. Within a 
year's time Saturninus Glaucius and others of the democratic party 
were slain; Metellus was recalled; and Rome became involved in a 
series of civil wars which only ended with the entire downfall of the 
comitia and the practical degradation of the senate to the rank of an 
imperial council." 

Upon the occasion of electing public magistrates the comitia Trib- 

" Livy, VIII, 12. 

" Plutarch, in Marius, 1, 464. On August 5, 1893, a similar proposal was discussed 
in the British House of Commons. An analogous measure, the election of Senators by 
direct vote of the people, is now (1900) being discussed in America. 


Qta was held in the Campus Martius. For general legislation and 
impeachments, it met either in the Forum, the Capitol, or the Circus 
Flaminius. At a later period, a more elegant and distinctive edifice 
vas designed for this legislature ; but on account of the Civil Wars 
the project was abandoned. With the usurpation of Cains (Julius) 
Caesar, the comitia substantially ceased to exist Its formal suppres- 
sion, however, was the work of Tiberius. 

But there is an after-life to legislatures, as there is to the men who 
compose them : a life that can never die. The comitia of the Republic 
was commemorated upon its coins; it was embalmed in the histories 
of Livy and Tacitus; it was imbued with life in the pages of Plutarch. 
To the heroes of the crusades, to the western nobles who took part 
in the plunder of the Romano-Byzantine empire and transmitted to 
their distant homes the testimony of their valour and success, none 
of these prizes of victory was regarded more preciously than a copy 
of one of these ancient books. We hear nothing of classical literature 
previous to the Fall of the Enlpire in 1204; immediately afterward 
we hear of little else. A passion to read, to devour, the contents of 
these immortal books, seized upon every cultivated person." The 
fabulous chronicles of the monks, the tumid legends of chivalry, the 
wild songs and sagas of untutored bards, were thrust aside, to make 
way for the more finished products of Greek and Latin thought." 
The myrmidons of the pontificate had spent nearly a thousand years 
in scouring the world for classical manuscripts, which were sent to 
the Vatican and there destroyed, or else mutilated, or stuffed with 
base forgeries. With the design to perpetuate their rule of super- 
stition, they had deliberately built up a world of darkness, to search 
within which was a sin, and to look beyond it a crime; yet in a single 
day, the fruit of all this planting was placed in jeopardy. 

The frantic efforts which they made to repair this breach, attest 
their sense of guilt and danger. After such long ages of repression " 
the most sober treatises of antiquity became revolutionary documents ; 
and every art was employed by the clergy to suppress them." The 

•* ** The discovery of an unknown manuscript," says Tiraboschi, ** was regarded al- 
most as the conquest of a kingdom." Hallam, 707. 

*^ '* The polite literature, as well as the abstruser science of antiquity, became the 
subject of cultivation. Such (students) were John of Salisbury and William of Malms- 
bury." Hallam, 704. 

*' ** There is probably not a single line quoted from any poet in the Greek language 
from the sixth to the fourteenth century." Hallam, 708. 

••In 1275 the booksellers of Paris were subjected to the control of the University. 
Hailam, 705, n. And the universities were subject to the control of the church. A 
like ordinance was doubtless promulgated in all the principal cities of Christendom. 
Printing on paper was as yet unknown. 


condemnation, by the Council of Paris in 1*09, of the works of Aris- 
totle, which had been found in Constantinople,'* is only an instance 
of that general policy which at this period distinguished the operations 
of the pontificate. To uproot heresy, and this included the destruction 
of what was left of the ancient literature, Innocent III., extended to 
friars, that power of trial and condemnation, which before had been 
sufficiently odious in the hands of bishops.** The privilege of admis* 
sion to the bedsides of the ailing and penitent, turned the whole Do- 
minican order into an army of execrable spies, informers, and prose- 
cutors. A million of pious Christians, Vaudois, or Albigenses, were 
destroyed; to say nothing of several millions of Moslems and He- 
brews.** All these people had books; among which were many copies 
of the ancients.*^ All these books were burnt. More than this, the 
heads of Catholic families were forced or enlisted into this detestable 
service. Both Cola de Rienzi, Dante, and Petrarch, were diligent 
searchers after and restorers of ancient manuscripts. Yet the father 
of the latter, in his zeal to follow the behests of the church, destroyed 
many unique and priceless works which the learning and industry of 
his son had accumulated. Among these were doubtless the compen- 
dious works of Varro, which Petrarch mentions having seen in his 
youth, but which he afterwards lost sight of and could never recover. ** 
Two works of Cicero, since lost, were certainly in Petrarch's posses- 
sion.** The second ** decade," (ten books,) of Livy, seems to have 
been destroyed at the same period ; for that was another object of 
Petrarch's searches.** The first six books of the Annals of Tacitus, 
which could not be found during the Renaissance, were afterward 
recovered from the monastery of Corvey, in Westphalia, not over 
forty leagues from that other monastery where the Codex Argenteus 
was altered or forged." 

But happily the efforts to destroy the ancient literature were not 
altogether successful. Through all the mutilations to which the Ro- 
man authors were subjected, there still shone enough of the light of 

^ Putnam's Encyc, ** Tabular Views," sub anno. 

**Monasticr,**Hist.of the Vaudois Church,"ch.xiv. "Monastier; Helvetius; Draper. 

^^ Vopiscus says that the emperor Tacitus, toward the end of the third century, caused 
ten complete copies of the works of Tacitus, the historian, to be deposited annually in 
every public archive and library of the empire. Vopiscus, Tac, x. Yet not a sing^le 
complete, or nearly complete, copy remains at the present day. 

•• Varro wrote 490 works. Of these only a fragment of a single one, (6 out of 24 libri,) 
is now extant. «• Matthiae, ** Greek and Rom. Lit.," p. 253. 

*® Lanciani refuses to believe that Livy was purposely mutilated or destroyed, but it 
must not be forgotten that this distinguished antiquarian labours under the disadvantage 
of living and holding oflfice within stone-throw of the Lateran. 

** Arthur Murphy's ** Life of Tacitus," pp. xvi, etc. 


the past to illumine the darkness of medieval Europe. During the 
first century of the Renaissance Christendom lived more in twenty 
years than it had previously lived in five hundred, and it was during^ 
this aera of returning light that a House of Commons was established 
in England. 

At that period there existed no witenagemote in England, nor had 
such a body existed for many centuries, nor was there any literature 
of wide repute which commemorated the witenagemote. The only 
existing body that might have suggested a House of Commons was- 
the Church council, consilium. Yet, in fact, this organization was so* 
far removed from essential resemblance to a popular legislature, that, 
as Mr. Rushforth relates, from epigraphical evidences, it was origin- 
ally formed to practice and enforce the worship of Augustus Caesar. 
The only feature of resemblance was the fact that the consilium con-^ 
sisted of deputies *' elected by the communities of the province, 
meeting annually at a central temple. " A House of Commons could 
never have developed out of a consilium. What then was the origin 
of the House of Commons? It arose in the same manner as did those 
political institutes which were erected in the seventeenth century by 
the Puritans of New England and the Jesuits of Paraguay. These 
people drew their constitutions from the Hebrew scriptures. In like 
manner, the modern institutes of freedom were derived from the Ro- 
man scriptures; from Livy, Cicero, Tacitus, Suetonius and the Corpus 
Juris Civilis. 

The simultaneous appearance of legislative bodies in other parts 
of the then recently defunct Roman Empire — in every instance com- 
posed of two chambers — proves the correctness of this view. Previous 
to the Fall of Constantinople we find no national legislative bodies 
in Europe.*' Immediately after that event we find such bodies in al- 
most every part of the Continent, in Spain, Gaul, Germany and Brit- 
ain. Did they all spring from Saxon witenagemotes? The theory is 

They sprang from Rome, from those Roman institutes which the 
Hierarchy had buried, but which the fragments of classical Roman 
literature had preserved and resuscitated. They sprang not from the 
wild life of semi-barbarous and roving tribes, but from the orderly 
life and actual experience of a settled community of freemen, who 
had long disdained to live under any laws but such as they made for 
themselves, and who only parted with their legislature after they fell 
beneath the crushing weight of hierarchical tyranny. 

** The caricature of a (municipal) Senate in Rome forms no exception to this rule. 


We have submitted many proofs that the House of Commons was 
not the conversion of a chieftain's or a king's council into a popular 
legislature, a conversion impossible under the circumstances, and un- 
known to the history of other countries with legislative bodies. In 
the Etablissemens of Saint Louis we read: '* These Establishments 
were made in the Great Council of wise men and good priests."** 
The witenageaiote, or great council, or curia regis, or parliament, of 
of his English contemporary, Henry III., was composed in the same 
manner, and it exercised similar functions. The king, assisted by 
the advice of his council, willed so and so, to be done. Such had 
been a consilium of the Caesars, such an imperial bench, such a Saxon 
witenagemote. It was a council, not a legislature; it assisted the de- 
liberations of the sovereign otof his vicars,it had no independent ex- 
istence, it did not represent the people. But the ancient comitia did; 
and so did the English House of Commons, whose creation, and the 
creation of like bodies in other European states, therefore marks the 
restoration of that political freedom to the Roman world, which had 
expired in the triumph of Julius Caesar, and was resurrected upon the 
Fall of his Empire in 1204. 

^ Recueii des Ordonnances, torn, i, p. 51. 




The jury s)rstem was unknown to Oriental nations — It arose with liberty in Greece 
and fell with liberty in Rome — Juries of Ten — of Twelve — The system was subverted 
by the patricians and ecclesiastics during the reign of Sylla — Destroyed by Julius Caesar 
— 'Imperial Assessores — Ecclesiastical Compurgatores — Resuscitation of the jury sys- 
tem after the Fall of the Sacred Empire. 

THE essence of the Jury System is the determination of questions 
of fact,arising in courts of law, by a body of citizens, of the same 
political rank as the litigants, or the accused, such citizens not being 
permanent magistrates and returning to the body of the people, when 
their work is done. Its origin is to be found in the dicasts of Athens, 
appointed under the institutes of Solon. When the Roman Common- 
wealth arose, that is to say, a little more than a century after theaera 
of Solon, the jury system was transplanted into the constitution of 
that rising state ; and there it remained until the downfall of freedom. 
It was in the consulship of Publicola, A.U. 245, that the citizen was 
accorded the right to appeal from the decision of a magistrate, which 
at that period meant a patrician, to the judgment of his peers in the 
comitia, ' and this provision is regarded as the basis of the Roman sys- 
tem of trial by jury. At first only important cases were thusappealed, 
and the jury consisted of the whole comitia, at that time the Cent- 
uriata. When the state became more populous and jury cases more 
numerous, the comitia, now the Tributa, appears to have relegated 
all appeals, except those of a political or of a probate character, to 
the Centuriata. This body proved false to the trust. It selected as 
judices three hundred of its own number, including among them many 
of senatorial rank, and thus altered the basis of the system. For the 
hearing of ordinary cases ten jurymen were drawn from the three 
hundred, and panels of such jurors appear to have been attached to 
the various courts, at least such seems to have been the case about 

* Livy, II, 8: Plutarch, in Publicola. The right to be tried for capital offences before 
the Comitia appears in the Twelve Tables. 


A. U. 604. Like the dicasts of Athens, the jury were summoned by 
praecones, or criers; • the jury occupied in the court-room a seat by 
themselves situated below the tribunal of the praetor, and called sub- 
sellia; * they were addressed by pleaders,as * 'Gentlemen of the Jury ;" * 
they retired to consult upon their verdict; they voted by ballots, of 
which in criminal cases, there were three sorts, inscribed respectively. 
Guilty, Not Guilty, and not Proven; they had a foreman, princeps; 
they took an oath before each trial to be governed in their verdict 
only by the evidence adduced before them ; and the accused, or the 
defendant, was allowed to challenge and reject a certain number, 
whose places were filled up from the panel. The period, when the num- 
bers which composed a petty jury was changed from ten to twelve, 
is uncertain, probably after the Decemvirate. The term of service 
for jurymen was one year and they were not obliged to serve during 
the holidays, or New Year's festivals.* 

About the year A. U. 513, the Tributa, without relinquishing its 
privilege to try political cases or appeals by a jury of the whole house, 
referred all cases concerning testaments and inheritance, or as we 
would now call them, probate cases, to a panel consisting of three 
citizens chosen from each of the thirty-five tribes, therefore, strictly 
speaking, 105 in all. These were called centumviri, and the causes 
that came before them, causae centumvirales. Their number was af- 
terward increased to i8o.* Kennett, p. 136, is of opinion that out of 
this body were drawn the arbitri and recuperatores. From the de- 
cision of a centumviral jury there was no appeal. 

Under these arrangements most of the jury trials came to be de- 
cided by the patricians and influenced by the ecclesiatics, a result that 
gave rise to frequent exhibitions of popular dissatisfaction. It essen- 
tially overthrew the ancient institute of Publicola and delivered the 
citizen not to the judgement of his peers, but to the hereditary ene- 
mies of liberty. Tacitus, himself a patrician and a priest, informs us 
that this subject was for ages the cause of civil commotion in the 
Roman state, until it was setted by the lex Sempronia, A.U. 632. By 
virtue of this law a Roman citizen could only be tried for his life by 
the comitia, whose jurymen were to be drawn altogether from the 
equites, a middle rank of citizens, open to any person of respecta- 

* The criers (prsecones) were also organized in bodies of ten (dectiriae). Adani, 147. 

•Suet., Nero. 17. *Cic., Orat. *Suet., in Galba, 14. 

' Pliny*s Letters, vi, 23. The Julian court appears to have been a centumviral, or 
probate court, and may have been the prototype of the curia regis, or king's bench, of 


bility and means. ^ This was not the restoration of Publicola's system, 
but a compromise, the best that the people could then obtain. 

The lex Servilia, A.U. 648, increased the number of citizens avail- 
able as jurymen to 450, by adding 150 of the patrician class; the lex 
Glaucia, A. U. 653, again limited these 450 to the equites; the lex 
Livius, A.U. 662, increased the number to 600, by adding isoof the 
patrician class; by a subsequent law this additional number was com- 
pelled to be drawn from the equites only ; while the lex Plautius, A. U. 
664,limited the whole number to 525 citizens drawn from the patrician, 
equestrian and plebeian orders, though in what proportion, we are 
not advised. Cicero, who is our informant in this matter, merely says 
that fifteen citizens were drawn from each tribe. We have multiplied 
this number by the whole number of tribes, but it is possible that all 
the tribes were not permitted to supply jurymen and therefore that 
the whole number was less than that assumed above. 

With the triumph of Sylla's arms, the jury system, together with 
many other institutes of freedom, received a fatal blow. By the lex 
Cornelia, A. U. 672, he reduced the jurymen to 300 selecti, drawn 
exclusively from the senatorial class. This law made them practically 
what would now be called justices, rather than jurymen. They were 
no longer called upon to decide merely the fact, but also the law; 
they were no longer drawn from the same rank as the accused, or 
defendant, but were all aristocrats and possessors of great estates; 
they no longer received legal instructions from the praetor, but con- 
sulted and cooperated with him as equals; indeed many of them were 
professional lawyers and advocates, and, as can be seen from several 
coins of the period, they sat upon the same bench as the prastor. 

With this enlargement of function they seem to have acquired the 
name of assessores. Dr. Adam very correctly renders the assessores 
into the consilium, or the counsellors, or council, of the praetor; but 
is he also correct in supposing that while the assessores sat upon the 
bench with the praetor, a jury, (judices,) sat on the subsellia below? 
This seems to us like mingling or confusing the customs of different 
ages. Pliny, the Younger, writes to Cornelius Tacitus: ' " It has fre- 
quently been my province to act both as an advocate and a judex, 
and I have often also attended as an assessore ; " thus apparently dis- 
tinguishing between them and assigning them to different periods of 
his life. Yet the passage is neither clear nor conclusive. In a letter 

^ Tac, Annals, xn, 60. Montesquieu evidently had this passage in mind when he said 
that in the wars between Marius and Sylla the composition of juries formed the chief 
bone of contention. ' Letters, i, 20. 


to Rufus, he says : ** I lately attended our excellent emperor (Trajan) 
as one of his assessores, in a cause wherein he himself presided. " ♦ ♦ * 
'* When the opinions of the assessores was taken* ♦ ♦ it was decided," 
etc.* But not a word about any jury. It is true that Pliny's evidence 
is of a negative character, and that it relates to a period nearly two 
centuries later than Sylla; yet nevertheless it may throw some light 
upon this point. Possibly in the transition from the jury system of 
the Commonwealth to the assessore system of the empire, there was 
an interval, when, indeed, ten (or twelve) judices sat upon the sub- 
sellia, but bereft of any more important function than that ot deter- 
mining such questions, special issues, as might be put to them by the 
bench ; or, like the assessores of the exisiting British admiralty courts, 
the older system may for a time, have overlapped the newer. 

The lex Cottia, A.U.683,drewtheselecti from the senators, equites, 
and tribuni aerarii ; the lex Licinia, or Aurelia, A.U. 698, drew a jury, 
in cases of bribery at elections, from the people at large, ex omni 
populo ; *• but as such cases, that is to say, wherein the bribery was 
susceptible of proof, must have been comparatively rare," this can- 
not be regarded as any substantial renewal of the jury system. In 
A. U. 702, the number of the selecti was still 300, as appears by a 
resolution of the senate preserved verbatim in a letter of Marcus 
Coelius to Cicero." It also appears that a number of them were also 
members of the senate. In the same year Pompey increased the num- 
ber of selecti to 360 and probably made some popular concessions 
toward a return of the old system, which concessions were repealed 
after his tragic death. 

Julius Cassar limited the selecti to the senatorial and equestrian or- 
ders,*' drawing three decuriae, each of a different class of fortunes, 
from each tribe. Marc Antony, in A. U. 710, increased the number 
of selecti by drawing a supplementary panel from the centurions of 
the army. " Augustus added a fourth decuria from each tribe, con- 
sisting of a class called ducenarii, because the official value of 
their estates was only 200,000 sesterces, or half that of an equite; 
and he reduced the age of eligibility from 25 to 20 years. The ap- 
peals which formerly were decided by a jury of the Centuriata, he re- 
ferred to the decision of the praetor; and he, or his divine predecessor, 
constituted a curia regis, or court of king's bench, in which the sov- 

• Pliny's Letters, iv, 22. See also on this subject, Letters, vi, 22, and vi, 31. 
»»Cic., Plane, 17. 

" Pliny says that political bribery was now carried on ** with more secresy." Letters, 
VI, 19. " Letters. 11, 4. »» Suet.. Jul.. 41. " Cic. Phil., 1 and v. 


ereign himself sat in judgment in important cases, assisted by a con- 
cilium or bench of assessores.** This is the kind of court mentioned 
by Pliny. Its establishment practically marks the downfall of the jury- 

Some allusion has already been made to the mingling of customs 
belonging to different ages, which possibly pertains to Dn Adam's ac- 
count of the Roman system of judices. This remark may with equal 
justice be applied to the accounts of the Romans themselves. The 
number of judices in a panel, the number drawn from a panel, and 
the number of tribes from which they were drawn, all belong to dif- 
ferent ages, yet the Roman historians never noticed this circumstance. 
For example, the number 300 has a sacerdotal significance and it be- 
longs to the remotest age of Rome. During the best ages of the Com- 
monwealth it was disregarded. When the Commonwealth was about 
to expire superstition had resumed its sway and the ancient sacerdotal 
number of selecti was reinstated in the institutes of the dying repub- 
lic. The number of tribes, 35, also belongs to an early period of 
Roman history, when that number agreed with the days of the month 
and the pantheon of the minor gods. Yet it was retained long after 
it had lost all significance. On the change from 10 to 12 jurymen we 
have already offered an opinion. With these mysteries we have at 
present no concern, further than to suggest them as illustrations of 
the confusion into which the evolution of its religious belief threw 
many of the institutes of Rome and the resulting difficulties which. 
have attended the efforts of modern historians and antiquarians to 
describe such institutes with precision. 

It is essential to again remark, in respect of trial by jury, that it 
was totally unknown to the Orient. Neither the Hindus, Chinese, 
Taters, Persians, Assyrians, Hebrews, nor Egyptians possessed any 
such institute, nor do their descendents, to this day. It was born with 
Grecian and perished with Roman liberty; and was only resuscitated 
when the hierarchy, which had crushed out that liberty, was itself over- 

"Suet., Aug., 32. 




Its origin in Greece — In Rome — Its abolition during the Hierarchy — Its resuscita- 
tion after the Fall of Constantinople — Subsequent history. 

THIS is a writ which compels any person who has been deprived of 
bis liberty, to be brought before a public magistrate, in order 
that It may be determined whether or not he has been lawfully im- 
prisoned. The origin of this writ is commonly traced to the Middle 
Ages. In fact it may be traced to the aera of Solon and the Athenian 
republic, when •* the rights of citizenship, representation in the legis- 
lature, trial by jury, (dicasts,) the writ of habeas corpus, marriage 
laws, and many other institutes of freedom and civilization " were se- 
cured to the people. * 

In Rome, A. U. 259, B, C. 495, on the ides, or middle day of May^ 
now called Whitsuntide,a temple to Liber Pater (Bacchus) was erected 
near the Circus Maximus, probably to commemorate the passage of 
an act which we now perceive to have resembled the modern Habeas 
Corpus. Anciently the Roman creditor had the right to seize and im- 
prison the person of his debtor. In that year, owing to certain affect- 
ing circumstances, which are narrated by Livy, the Consul issued an 
edict that ** no person should hold any Roman citizen in bonds or con- 
finementfSO as to hinder his being brought before the Consuls. " * Who 
can doubt the essential resemblance between this law and the Habeas 
Corpus Act ? 

In A. U. 429, B. C. 325, the phraseology of this important law was 
made broader. The Psetelian law made it a misdemeanor to detain 
any person in custody or confinement unless as a punishment for crime 
and after lawful conviction.' 

Finally, in A. U. 632, B. C. 122, the Sempronian law provided that 
no sentence should be passed upon a Roman citizen unless by virtue 
of law or warrant of the Comitia. * The safeguards which these various 

' "The Worship of Augustus Casar," sub anno» B. C. 592. 

* Ibid, p. 147. • Livy, vni, 28. * Cicero pro Rabir., 4. 


enactments threw around the citizen were even more complete than 
those furnished by the medieval writ of Habeas Corpus. They not only 
provided that the prisoner should be brought before a magistrate to 
determine whether he had been lawfully imprisoned or not; they pro- 
vided a severe penalty for unlawful detention, a penalty that under 
the Sempronian law would have reached the magistrate himself. 

It will be observed that by the Paetelian Law it was a misdemeanor 
to detain any person in custody or confinement, unless as a punishment 
for crime and after lawful conviction ; and that by the Sempronian Law, 
no sentence could be passed upon a Roman citizen, unless by virtue 
of the law, or warrant of the Comitia. These laws, especially the for- 
mer one, were designed to protect the personal liberty of the citizen 
and to shield him from unlawful detention or imprisonment. Such was 
also thedesignof that clause in Magna Charta which provides that *^no 
man shall be taken or imprisoned but by the lawful judgment of his 
peers, or by the law of the land." Between these dates there elapsed 
more than thirteen centuries of time, there were held more than thir- 
teen hundred ecclesiastical convocations and other councils, but there 
was no law to protect the person from unlawful seizure or imprison- 
ment. Such an institute will be sought for in vain among barbarian or 
hierarchical constitutions. Like the House of Commons and the Jury 
system, it arose out of the actual experience of a free people, it belonged 
to aerasof political liberty, it was lost in the long and horrible night of 
pontifical ascendancy, it was found when that darkness disappeared. 
The hierarchy fell in 1204; Magna Charta was granted in I2i5.* 

Observe the difference between an actual and an imaginary Com- 
monwealth. These institutes of Greece and Rome, though deprived 
of nourishment for more than a thousand years, have all sprung up 
again and flourish to-day. Those of the Judean poets, though planted 
in Asia, in Europe, in New England, in Paraguay, have rarely, no matter 
upon what occasion, or with whatever assistance, enjoyed more than 
a sickly growth of a few years. 

The argument that the House of Commons arose out of the witen- 
agemote, originated in the church, whence it was carried into the uni- 
versities, over all of which the Church exercised a jealous supervision. 
From the universities it flowed out into the pages of those historians > 
whom the universities have furnished to the modern world. In a 
similar manner, the jury system was traced to the compurgators of 
the canon law, and the principle of the Habeas Corpus act to some 

* A Habeas Corpus act was passed by the Senate of Venice and became the law of 
ihat Commonwealth in A. D. 1275. Hazlitt*s "Venice,** ed. 1858, 11, 411. 


remote and undefined ordinance of the dark ages. But no such tree 
ever bore such fruit. Let it be understood that to attribute these in- 
stitutes to the dark or the medieval ages, is to attribute them to the 
Hierarchy ; because during the whole of those periods the Hierarchy ' 
ruled supreme. Let it be understood that during these periods the 
•commons were slaves, the court's of law were the dungeons and torture- 
chambers of the Inquisition, and that the persons, not merely of com- 
moners, but of kings, were buried alive, in conventual tombs, at pleasure 
of some of the most blasphemous and murderous tyrants the world 
ever saw. Finally, let it be understood that to clothe the detested 
laws and devices of these tyrants in the fair garb of free institutes, 
is to hide from posterity the danger of their re-enactment and expose 
it to the insidious advances of another race of hierarchs. • When these 
things are understood, the arguments which have been brought for- 
ward to sustain the ecclesiastical view of the origin of legislatures, 
juries, and laws to protect the person, will die the miserable death 
they deserve. 

' *' The commission appointed to consider the means to be adopted for checking the 
spread of Stundism in the south of Russia recommends that all religious assemblies or 
meetings of the sect be forbidden, since they are calculated to promote false teaching 
and to promote a state of nervous exaltation among the ignorant classes of the people, 
It is also proposed that the ecclesiastical authorities compel those who are suffering 
from undue religious excitement to enter a monastery, where they may be confined un- 
til they are restored to a healthier and more normal state.*' St. Petersborgh despatch, 
in Loodon Daily Chronicle, September 6th, 1892. 




Early Roman monetary systems — Numerical System of B.C. 385 — Prosperity of the 
republic — Dissatisfaction of the patricians — Alexander's plunder of Asia — Metallic 
flood — Profits of Oriental trade — Attacks upon the Numerical system — Adoption of a 
** Species " system^Decline of the metallic flood— Distress in Rome^Theory of Money 
— Punic wars— Conquest of Greece — Distress relieved— Rise of prices — Halcyon Age — 
Dwindling of metallic resources — Renewal of distress — Gentes, or private-coinage sys- 
tem, copied from Greece — This device arrests the decline which, however, is soon re- 
newed — Civil Wars — End of the republic — Monetary systems of the Empire — Fall of 
the Empire in A.D. 1204 — Assertion of the Roman prerogative of money by the Christ- 
ian kings of Europe— Review of the Prerogative — Its descent traced from ancient Rome 
to modem Britain. 

ACCORDING to the latest researches into the antiquities of Rome, 
the monetary systems which it employed before the Gaulish In- 
vasion were: First, the ace grave, with leather notes to represent the 
ingots; Second, the ace signatum; and Third, the silver (and copper) 
coin system mentioned by Varro in Charisius, the silver coins called 
denarii, weighing each about 118 English grains; specimens of them 
being still extant. These researches also disclose the fact that Pliny 
wrote in ignorance of the early monetary systems of his country, from 
which it may be further inferred that the most ancient Roman coinage 
laws were no longer extant in his day. As these laws have not even 
yet come to light, we have no means to determine precisely under 
what conditions or circumstances the earlier Roman coinages were 
issued. There is,however,reason to believe that the **Romano " silvef 
coins, which appear to have been included in the system alluded to by 
Varro, were issued upon somewhat the same plan as are our gold coins 
at the present time; they were manufactured by the State, probably 
upon a ** retinue," or seigniorage, but at the request and pleasure of 
private individuals, who melted them down or else exported them to 
foreign countries whenever they would fetch more as bullion than they 
cost as coins, or whenever they would purchase more commodities 
abroad than at home. 


About the period of the Gaulish Invasion, B. C. 385, the extension 
of the Roman domain, the excellence of the Roman roads, the facility 
of travel and intercommunication throughout all parts of the Republic, 
and the organization of credit, rendered the Roman coins so efficient 
an instrument of exchange that to leave their emission and subsequent 
destruction or exportation any longer subject to the pleasure of private 
individuals, imperilled the welfare of society and the safety of the State. 
At all events, laws were evidently enacted at this juncture which 
worked a most notable change in the monetary system of the Republic. 
These laws are described at length in the author's ** History of Money 
in Ancient States." 

In effect, the Roman Republic resumed its ancient prerogative of 
Money; it stopped the fabrication of coins for private account; it re- 
tired the outstanding issues, and established an entirely new system 
of money, consisting of over- valued bronze coins, called nummt\which 
were struck by the government only for itself. The value of these 
nummi was preserved by limiting their emission to a fixed sum. 

Systems of this character, called Numerical systems, had been tried, 
■with more or less success, in certain states of the Orient, also in Spar- 
ta, Byzantium, Clazomenae, and Athens. The great teachers of phil- 
osophy and politics, such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Zeno, had 
ivritten upon the subject of Numerical systems of money ; while Plato, 
the most revered of them all, had recommended such a system for his 
Ideal Republic. Whatever diverse opinions were held in Rome as to 
the substance of which the tokens or symbols of money should best 
be made, whether of gold, silver, or bronze, or of all combined, or 
ivhether the issues should be convertible or not, it seems to have been 
determined by the Comitia Tributa, which at this period was supreme, 
that the safety of the Republic was imperilled by the control which 
individuals had previously exercised over the coinage; and that in 
order to avoid this peril it had become necessary for the State, that 
is to say the people, as represented in the Comitia, to take the emis- 
sions of money into its own hands. 

For the sake of rendering it familiar to the reader, it may be said 
that the Numerical or Nummulary system of republican Rome was 
rudely reflected in the Greenback system of the United States of Ame- 
rica, 1862-78. In the Roman system the greenbacks, or nummi, were 
printed, that is to say stamped, on bronze; the metal being worth 
only about one-fifth of the value expressed in legal denominations as- 
signed to and stamped upon each piece. The government alone issued 
the nummi. In order to defeat counterfeiting, the copper mines were 


monopolized by the State ; the commerce in copper and tin was regu- 
lated; the designs for the issues of nummi were of great artistic 
beauty; the emissions were limited; the pieces were stamped S. C, 
or ex Senatus Consulto; and they were made the sole legal tenders for 
the payment of taxes, contracts, fines, and debts. In the American 
greenback system the emissions were not limited constitutionally, but 
only by Congress; they were not the sole legal-tenders issued by the 
government, because customs-duties and interest on the public debt 
were allowed, and indeed required, to be paid in coins ; and the law 
authorizing the issue of greenbacks was not so clear in regard to their 
inconvertibility as to avoid dispute on this point — a dispute that ended 
with their being gratuitously rendered convertible. 

The Roman system of nummi continued in successful use for nearly 
a century, during which interval Rome rose from the condition of an 
obscure state to that of the Mistress of all Italy. But such general 
prosperity did not satisfy the patrician class. They wanted the pros- 
perity, but they wanted it for themselves alone, and were unwilling 
to share it with the people at large, because such communism deprived 
them of the wealth and social distinction they coveted. As the num- 
mulary system stood in the way of these aspirations, they condemned, 
attacked, undermined, and eventually overthrew it; and that, too, with 
the ignorant acquiescence of the very people at large whose welfare 
it had so signally advanced and whose liberties it had conserved. 

The movement for the overthrow of the nummulary system was 
greatly favored by the Oriental conquests of Alexander the Great and 
the immense quantities of the precious metals which these conquests 
yielded to Macedon and the contiguous Greek States and their col- 
onies, including Magna Graecia in Italy. These countries were 
flooded with the coins of the conqueror, which even to this day are 
not so rare as are American coins of the last century. From Magna 
Grascia the coins of Alexander soon made their way to Rome, where 
their superior convenience over the nummi for the payment of large 
sums must have recommended them to favour. The immense profits 
which were to be made both before and during this period, by ex- 
changing European silver for Asiatic gold, could scarcely have been 
without influence in encouraging a return to ** species " payments. In 
connection with a period so early as B. C. 357 Livy alludes to an 
aurum vicesimarium, which appears to have been a tax upon imported 
gold. These circumstances blinded the Romans to the mischievous, 
the retrogressive tendencies of Barter, for such is the nature of a 
'* species " system, when unsupported by fiduciary issues. The grow- 



ing power of the Senate and waning power of the Comitia at this period 
lent facility to the proposed change. The patricians saw what seemed 
to them an advantage over the commons, and they seized a favourable 
moment to grasp it. 

In B.C. 317 was enacted the monetary law of Ogulniusand Fabius, 
which erected a species system of gold, silver and bronze coins, based 
upon a silver sesterce of 18.229 English grains, of which sesterces, 80 
went to the gold aureus of 145.833 grains, a weight-ratio of silver to» 
gold equal to 10 for i. This system may have been permissive and 
not compulsory, or it may have been in some manner coupled withi 
the Nummulary system, so as to conceal the radical nature of the 
change. Be this as it may, it eventually superseded the Nummulary 
altogether and thus transferred the Prerogative of Money (for this 
was the real object aimed at and achieved) from the supervision of 
the Comitia to that of the Senate, in other words, from the hands of 
the people to those of the patricians. 

So long as the flood of precious metals from the Orient and the 
Greek states continued to pour into Rome, the evil effects of surren- 
dering the Prerogative of Money were not perceived. The moment 
when this flood ceased and especially when the flood became a flux, 
which it did during the first quarter of the third century before our 
aera, then there arose from the people cries of regret, distress and 
apprehension. The language of Pliny, where he condemns those who 
introduced gold and silver into the money of Rome, of having com- 
mitted a Crime against Mankind, was not justified by any circum- 
stances relating to the money of his own time; it must have been 
copied from some chronicler of an earlier period, probably from Tim- 
aeus, who wrote about B.C. 290, a period when the retreating tide of 
metallic money left the wreck of the neglected Prerogative exposed to 
view. If applied to that period the condemnation was essentially just ; 
yet the Crime was not so much in substituting gold and silver tokens 
for bronze tokens, as in substituting gold and silver metal for bronze 
money; in substituting Commodities, which could be coined up and 
melted down by their individual owners at pleasure and with little or 
no loss, in the place of Money, which could not thus be treated with- 
out great and irreparable loss; in 'supplementing the bronze nummi, 
which under State regulation formed a fixed and known proportion 
of the whole currency, with gold and silver pieces, the latter being 
amenable to private control and bearing no fixed or known propor- 
tion to the Volume of money employed in the exchanges. The Crime 
against Mankind was in depriving the state of its Prerogative of 


Mbney, to bestow it upon a favoured class of the population. It was 
th<: same crime that in 1666 Charles II. committed in England and in 
1790 Alexander Hamilton committed in the United States by recom- 
mending his government to adopt the system of Charles II. 

Nations may grow rich with a Barter system; (and let it be under- 
stood that the gratuitous or nearly gratuitous and unlimited coinage 
of money, when coupled with free meltage and export, whether the 
coins are of gold, silver, copper, or any other metal, and when un- 
supported by fiduciary issues, must result in simple Barter for the 
metal thus coined;) but such wealth cannot become equitably diffused 
among the productive classes. It will inevitably become congested; 
and for the most part it will gravitate not towards merit and indus- 
try, but towards combination, conspiracy and idleness. The Messiah 
declared that the rich could not hope to enter the Kingdom of heaven, 
not merely because they were rich, but evidently because,as the laws 
then stood, and it may be added, as they now again stand, wealth was 
too often gained unworthily. 

Moreover, the wealth that is gained under legal enactments which 
rob the state of its Prerogative of Money (that is to say, enactments 
which permit gratuitous and unlimited coinage, free meltage, unre- 
stricted exportation, etc.,) isapetty wealth compared with what would 
accrue from commerce and exchange when not hampered by such en- 
actments. For the sake of illustration, let it be supposed that with a 
gratuitously coined, unlimited metallic currency of 1000 millions, (of 
any denomination) having a velocity in the exchanges of once a week, 
is coupled a mass of credits, which, when reduced to a like velocity 
of once a week, would amount to another 1000 millions, total 2000 
millions. Upon this hypothesis, the sum of exchanges, at 50 weeks 
to the year, would necessarily amount to 100 thousand millions. Let 
us further assume that the net profits on these exchanges were 5 per 
cent and that the just proportion of such profits accruing respectively 
to capital and labour was each one-half. It would follow that each 
would receive 2500 millions. 

Now a gratuitous and unlimited coinage is subject to this grave de- 
fect: it is liable to be suddenly and greatly augmented by accessions 
from the mines, or by importations from abroad; to say nothing of 
treasure-trove, melted plate, etc. It is on the other hand, liable to 
be suddenly and greatly diminished by melting, hoarding, absorption 
in the arts, or exportations of bullion to foreign countries, to say noth- 
ing of wear and tear, losses by shipwreck, etc. Thus the currency, 
together with the whole mass of credits built upon it, is subject to 



enormous variation, a variation which now-a-days reflects itself pri- 
marily in the prices of marketable securities, shares in corporations, 
bonds and debentures, secondarily in the prices of all commodities 
according to the order of their marketability, and lastly in the sum 
of wages paid for labour. When men, whether capitalists or stipend- 
iaries, are subject to such circumstances and conditions, they dare 
not venture upon new enterprises, however meritorious, for fear of 
being caught with too slender a bank balance and forced into insol- 
vency. They are compelled to be conservative, overcautious and pen- 
njrwise. The general result of such conservatism is a slower move- 
ment of money, and a smaller number of exchanges, than would attend 
a fixed and stable currency. The latter, not being subject on the one 
hand to meltage or exportation, nor on the other to mining or im- 
portation, would safely sustain a greater mass of credits and yet move 
more rapidly. A state-regulated and stable currency of looo millions 
would safely bear, let us say, twice as many credits as a gratuitous- 
coinage and f ree-meltage currency of the same nominal amount. The 
sum of money, looo millions, plus credits when reduced to a like veloc- 
ity, together 2000 millions, would amount to a volume of 3000 mill- 
ions. All elements of fluctuation being now eliminated from the cur- 
rency, men would no longer fear to promote meritorious enterprises 
merely because they were new; they would cast aside their pennywise 
policy and deal promptly and frequently. Transactions would multi- 
ply, money would move rapidly; and instead of a velocity of once a 
week, it would assume a velocity of, let us say, twice a week. A cur- 
rency of 3000 millions moving twice a week will result in exchanges 
amounting to 300 thousand millions. Suppose, as before, that the 
profits were 5 per cent, but that Capital only got a third instead of a 
half,how much would it receive? Answer: 5000 millions, or just double 
as much as under the unregulated coinage, or species, or Barter sys- 
tem. On the other hand. Labour would receive 10,000 millions, or 
four times as much as under the Barter system. In short, the species 
system, which Capital deludes itself in supposing to be advantageous, 
really robs it of half its due rewards; whilst Labour is robbed of three- 
fourths of what it would receive undera regulated orNumerical system. 
When the Numerical system of the Roman Republic is thoughtfully 
examined, and when the rapid developement, the agricultural, mining 
and commercial activity, the enormous accumulation of wealth, and 
the vast strides in science, invention and the arts, which character- 
ized the Romans during and shortly after the employment of this sys- 
tem, are considered, it will scarcely be denied that these evidences of 


progress were due in some measure to that system* It was an evif 
day for Rome when the Numerical system was abandoned and Pliny 
(or Timaeus) was right when he regarded the surrender of the Pre- 
rogative of Money to private individuals as a'Crime against Mankind. 

The historians of the Republic have left us little room to doubt that 
the distress which followed the cessation of the Oriental flood of the 
precious metals had much to do with forcing Rome into the Punic 
wars; indeed, in rendering popular any wars that promised to supply 
the Republic with the needed materials for coinage. It may even be 
surmised that the patricians — in order to divert the Commons from 
the consideration of monetary pressure— did all they could to provoke 
Carthage to the conquest. The Punic wars were begun by Rome B. C. 
265. They ended B.C. 202, with the total subversion of its rival, the 
capture of colossal spoil, in gold and silver, and the acquisition of the 
Spanish mines. These resources, when coupled with those afforded 
by the subsequent conquest of Greece, furnished such ample relief 
from the dwindling stock of money, that prices rose to a higher level 
than before; the Romans forgot their apprehensions; and a new aera 
of prosperity began; an aera so brilliant and hopeful as to earn for it- 
self the name of the Halcyon Age. 

But there is no stability in a Barter system, and it makes no essen* 
tial difiference whether the barter is for gold, silver, or any other com* 
modity, as such. Sooner or later it must come to judgment. With an 
increasing and prosperous population, it requires for its support an 
augmentation of the precious metals great enough to supply the mints, 
satisfy the arts, fill the channels of export, and withstand the wear- 
and-tear of coins. Mining is unequal to this demand, while conquest 
and spoliation can only meet it for a time. After Rome had plundered 
the states of the Levant of all the precious metals which could be 
found, a scarcity of money again made itself felt; and the public dis- 
tress became so marked that relief was sought in still another down- 
ward step of the Prerogative of Money. Under the old system of B.C. 
317 the precious metals were coined apparently without limit, though 
not gratuitously. The Republic charged a seigniorage for coining ; 
and it reserved, if it did not exercise, some further control over the 
coinage. It was resolved about B. C. 175, at least so far as silver 
was concerned, to throw away all control and permit the patricians 
to strike their own coins, whenever, and with what devices and to as 
great an extent, as they liked. This measure, like most of the mon- 
etary legislation of Rome, was borrowed from Greece. For proof of 
this, see a passage in Xenophon, ed. 1877, p. 686. It was doubtless 


resorted to in Rome in the hope of inducing the wealthy to coin their 
plate. This expectation, and the pressure of the times, rendered ac- 
ceptable private issues of silver coins which otherwise would have met 
with popular contempt and resentment; for the patricians took care 
to stamp upon them the evidences of their rank and the bases of their 
pretensions. For a while the expedient succeeded; but the paucity 
of gentes coins which were struck before the first century B. C, is 
an evidence that the measure met with little success. The patricians 
evidently did not deem it advantageous to increase the currency; and 
until the following century, during the civil wars, the output of their 
private coining-presses was comparatively small. Under these circum- 
stances the currency steadily diminished ; and before the middle of the 
century the Halcyon Age was over. 

The decline of the Republic now suffered but little interruption. 
The last resort had been tried and failed. There were no more rich 
countries to plunder; mining could not keep pace with the demands 
of trade for the materials of money; and trade had to decline. With 
it, declined production, profit, credit, and the social ties which arise 
from commercial prosperity. In the course of a little more than an- 
other century, the Republic fell to rise no more; and with it fell for 
more than fifteen centuries, the aspirations of mankind for justice, 
freedom and protection. 

Under the Empire the Prerogative of Money was partly reserved 
by the State ; though even this reservation was only effected indirectly. 
The sovereign-pontiff monopolized the coinage of gold and fixed the 
weight-ratio of value between gold and silver at i to 1 2 ; a ratio which 
remained unaltered for over 1200 years. He shared the coinage of 
silver with his subject kingdoms and left the coinage of bronze to the 
Senate and municipalities. According to Epictetus, Dissertations, i, 
xxix, all these coins were legal-tender; but it may be presumed that 
with regard to the bronze coins, their legal-tender was limited. Un- 
der these conditions the Volume of Money fluctuated with the pro- 
ductivity of mines and this with the conquest of populous countries 
and the supply of slaves. Pliny complained of the vast sums of silver 
which in his own day were drained away to Asia; Aurelian, at the cost 
of 7000 troops, defeated the private coiners and resumed the Prerog- 
ative of silver, which, however, was lost again in subsequent reigns; 
several of the emperors issued edicts against the absorption of the 
precious metals in the arts. Diocletian attempted to establish a tariff 
of prices — edictum pretiam — ^whilst many other evidences appear from 
time to time in the annals of the Empire which prove that the cur- 


rency almost continually declined and as continually gave rise to social 

Sir Archibald Alison and Mr. William Jacob have written learned 
and laborious treatises to prove that the decay of the Empire was due 
to the shrinkage of its metallic currency and the failure of its mines. 
They might have gone much further and shown that before the Em- 
pire, the Republic failed from similar causes. So long as the Comitia 
retained its vitality, so long did the Republic, through its legislative 
action, retain the Prerogative of money; and so long were produc- 
tion and trade promoted. There can be discerned no evidences of de- 
cay in the Roman state at this period. But the moment the Senate 
succeeded in depriving the Comitia of its powers, the moment it seized 
the Prerogative of money and altered the Numerical to a Barter sys- 
tem, marks of retrogression made their appearance. The metallic 
food, gained from trade with the Greek states, which in turn gained 
it from Alexander's conquests in the Orient and the further flood of 
the metals wrested from the despairing hands of Greece itself, hid 
these marks for a time and converted a degenerate into a progressive 
age of Rome. But when these stimuli lost their force, the old disease 
once more appeared ; and the decline of the Commonwealth continued 
until agrarian disturbances and civil wars ingloriously terminated its 
career. The vigorous and prudent measures of Julius and Augustus 
helped for a lengthy period to sustain an empire where a republic had 
fallen; but as the case stood, their measures could only be half-meas- 
ures and the result was that the empire declined as the republic had 
declined before it. After dying many deaths, after convulsions so vast 
that the world never witnessed their like before, and it is to be hoped 
will never witness their like again, this mighty Empire, finally expired 
with the capture of Constantinople, A.D. 1204. 

Immediately after this event, as if to emphasize the tremendous im- 
portance of the coinage Prerogative, every petty monarch within the 
Roman pale began to coin gold; an act which no one of them had ever 
before ventured to commit; in short, they took up and exercised that 
Prerogative of gold which the dead Empire had held from first to last, 
but which owing to the proconsular and monarchical coinages of silver 
and the municipal coinages of bronze, had long been shorn of its once 
superior importance. Among those who first struck gold at this period 
were the Kings of Leon, A. D. 1225; Portugal, 1225; France, 1226; 
England, 1257; Bohemia and Poland, 1300, and the Dukes or Counts 
of Florence, 1252; Genoa, 1252; Flanders, 1265, and Venice, 1276. 

Will any one pretend to say that the assumption of this potent and 


significant Prerogative by Henry III. was an heritage from the Anglo- 
Saxon kings and not from Rome? If so, then let it also be shown by 
such pretenders why that Prerogative was laid aside, disused and never 
exercised during the whole of the five hundred years which separated 
the pagan Anglo-Saxon kings from the Fall of Constantinople. 

The truth is that the British Prerogative of money has no other 
source than the right of the Roman Comitia to control the issues of 
money, both gold, silver and bronze; that when the Comitia was de- 
prived of this right, it was usurped by the Senate and afterwards sur- 
rendered to the gentes; that Caesar preserved and exalted the Pre- 
rogative of gold (only) for the Empire; that the Empire held it until 
its overthrow in 1204; that the Prerogative of silver was conferred by 
Caesar upon the proconsuls; that the proconsuls eventually became 
kings, who exercised this Prerogative of money and this one, (the 
silver prerogative, ) alone ; none of them venturing to strike either gold 
or bronze ; that the Prerogative of bronze was conferred by Caesar upon 
the municipalities, who exercised it down to, and in some cases after, 
the Fall of the Empire; and that the first King of England who ex- 
ercised all three, namely, the Prerogatives of gold, of silver, and of 
base metal, whether bronze or tin, was Henry III. 

Such is a brief outline of the right of the House of Commons to con- 
trol the issues of money; a right which came from the Comitia. The 
English kings who exercised it before the Commons did, got it from 
the Roman Empire; the Empire got it from the gentes; the gentes 
from the Senate; and the Senate from the Comitia, ex senatus con- 
sulto. The Prerogative of money in England cannot be traced to any 
other source, neither from the witenagemote, nor from popular cus- 
tom. The singular abstention from the coinage both of gold and bronze 
for upwards of 500 years, an abstention which was observed not only 
by the kings of England but also by those of every other state of 
Christendom, forms an absolute bar to any such plea. 




The ancient Getae of the Oxusand Euxine — Their removal to Illyria — The Gets of 
northern Europe, an allied race of later date — Their origin — Their appearance in Rus- 
sia, Finland, Sweden, lesthonia. Saxony, Gaul, and Britain — They fall under Roman 
sway — Their revolts against Roman authority — The empire of Ivan Vidfami extends 
from Novgorod to Northumbria. 

WE have been taught that northern Europe during the Dark Ages, 
was invaded by rapidly successive hosts of strange barbarians, 
countless as the sands, divided into innumerable tribes, having little 
or no relation to one another, and connected by no tie except the com- 
mon desire to plunder, depopulate, and overthrow the Roman empire. 
Precisely whence these hosts came, how they supported themselves 
in the deserts and forests which encircled the empire, whence they 
procured their arms, or what magic produced the discipline, order and 
unity of purpose so necessary to attack or resist such formidable foes 
as the Romans, we are not informed. The archaeological remains in- 
dicate no innumerable hosts, no rapidly successive invaders, no count- 
less tribes of strangers in northern Europe. They point to a sparse 
population of Goths, Slavs, Alemanni and Huns, every petty tribe of 
whom has been magnified by vanity, fear, prejudice, or imposture into 
a nation of giants and devourers. We are not concerned herein with 
the Slavs, Alemanni, or Huns; but with regard to the Goths of the 
Baltic, had the Roman chronicles not been perverted through con- 
ceit and superstition, the Romans might have recognized in these peo- 
ple the same race whom their forefathers had reduced to subjection 
in Mcesia, hacked to pieces in Illyria, driven away from the Loire and 
subjected to slavery in Britain; the broad-shouldered, fair-haired, blue- 
eyed worshippers of the Sun and Woden; that race against whom the 
Brahminical priests of the Romans had taught them not only to wage 
war but carry it to extermination. 

To trace the rise of the Sacse or the Getae in Europe generally would 
be beside the objects of this volume; but as according to the views 


of certain eminent authors, the chronicles of this race at a remote 
period, were those of Europe itself, it may conduce to a better un- 
derstanding of the early Norse occupation of Britain, if some allusion 
to these views are made in this place. History has been so greatly 
perverted by the Greek and Roman ecclesiastics that to our eyes ev- 
ery truth revealed by archaeology seems preposterous and every fact 
stands topsy-turvy. We have been taught, for example, to regard 
Greece (and after it Rome) as the centre of the civilized world and 
the original source of its activity, whilst the Sacas was a host of preda- 
tory savages, of comparatively modern origin, who hovered upon the 
borders of this world, ready to tear it to pieces from mere love of 
plunder and slaughter. On the contrary, the monuments of Egypt 
and Asia Minor, which in recent years have been discovered for the 
first time in more than twenty-five centuries,and therefore during that 
interval could neither have been forged nor altered, afford us rea- 
sons to suspect that the Sacas were the original discoverers of Europe ; 
that they occupied it before either Greece or Rome had any national 
•existence ; that these barbarians were the original colonizers of Hellas, 
upon which they conferred language, the runic letters, religion, gov- 
•ernment and a distinctive name; in short, that the original Greeks 
were themselves Sacas and worshippers of the sun god les-saca. 

These conclusions had been anticipated by the antiquarian and phil- 
ological researches of Jamieson, Pinkerton, Macfarlan, Buchanan, 
Pococke and others. The present work is only concerned with these 
views so far as they establish the antiquity of that Norse race which 
colonized or conquered Britain during the republican sera of Rome 
and introduced into the Islands those elements of political liberty to 
which their own freedom in the Deserts and Seas of the North had 
accustomed them,but whose completion, maturity and perfection they 
could only have found in the institutes of the Roman Commonwealth. 
A very brief outline of the antiquarian argument will therefore suffice. 

Starting from the mountain valleys of the Upper Oxus and carry- 
ing with them the Solar worship, the Sacas appeared in the river bot- 
toms of the Tigris as early, perhaps, as the eighteenth century B.C. 
That they were driven from their Asian homes by the Brahmins of 
India has been suspected but not determined. In Mesopotamia they no 
doubt found a large indigenous population, yet destitute of certain aids 
to material developement, with which the Sacae, though substantially a 
pastoral people, were already long familiar. Among these was the 
domestic horse, which it can hardly be doubted the latter introduced 
into both Assyria, Asia Minor, Greece and Egypt. Indeed, according 


to Pococke some of the Sacas were known distinctively as Hiyanians^ 
or Horse-tribes, a term which in the after developement of the Greek 
language was softened into lonians. 

All this will sound strangely to ears long attuned to the smooth 
mendacity of medieval ecclesiastical history; but it rests upon a very 
strong foundation of philological and archaeological research. The 
chronology may indeed require to be readjusted, but in the main these 
opinions are supported by valid and independent proofs. The period 
when the ** Chiefs of the Hela," Hellaines, or Hellenes, first made 
their appearance in that famous country, whose priests afterwards 
ungratefully disowned their paternity, is uncertain; however, it ap- 
pears to fall between the eighteenth and seventeenth century before 
our aera.* At a later period we find the Veneti, Eneti, Beneti, or 
Heneti, another tribe of Sacae, Catti, Khatti, orGetae, occupying the 
shores of the Euxine; their most important settlement being Trap- 
esus, (Trebizond,) near which they worked the copper and iron mines 
of Chalybia. Here no doubt to the reader's relief they come within 
the purview of those classical authors whose altered works have hithr 
erto been too largely accepted as history; and here we leave them to 
the care of Homer, Hecatasus, Sophocles, Euripides, Cato, Strabo, 
Pliny, Nepos, Mela, Arrian, Solinus and Justin. All of these authors 
allude to the Veneti, some identify them with the Getae, some allude 
to their tall figures, blue eyes and yellow hair, some to their fighting- 
women, their female chieftains, their peculiar mode of travel, their 
love of horses, their horse-fights, horse-races and horse-sacrifices, 
their worship of the Sun,and many other traits and customs with which 
we people of the north are not altogether unfamiliar* Others men- 
tion their conflicts with the Phoenicians concerning the navigation 
and trade of the Euxine, their struggles against the Assyrian hier- 
archy and their final defeat and removal to Greece, where a portion 
joined their brother Getae in Thraceand Mcesia; while the main body- 
settled in Illyria and began a new history on the shores of the Adriatic. 
As Oriental products have been found in Europe amongst the re- 
mains of a period anterior to the seventeenth century B. C. — which 
*' is believed to be that of the first appearance of Phoenician traders in 
the Red and Mediterranean seas — it must be assumed that if they en- 
tered Asia Minor prior to this period the Veneti either came by sea 
to Babylon, or overland by the Caucasus. Upon comparing the an- 

' Pococke, " India in Greece." 

' Aswa, a horse; Aswa-medha, a horse sacrifice. This is observed in India on the 
winter solstice. It was observed by the Son-worshippers twelve centuries before our 
8era. Col. Tod, cited in Pococke, p. 51. 


cient overland trade route laid down in Ptolemy's Geography with the 
works of modern travellers Mr. Murray was able to demonstrate that 
it crossed the Pamirs and descended the Beloor by the valley of the 
Oxus, whence it seems to have crossed the Caspian sea.' This was 
probably the route of the Veneti. The whole country north of the 
Oxus was known as Katt-ei orKat-ai,and this name it retained down 
to the period of the Mongol conquest of China. 

It has been assumed herein that the Getse, the Sacas and the Goths 
were the same people. Let us now briefly examine the evidences upon 
which this assumption rests. The first of these terms relates to the 
original habitat of these people, the second to their religion, the third 
to their god. Catti, Gatti, Getae, Khatt i , Khatai, Ke-ti, etc. , are variants 
of a northern Asiatic word meaning the Desert, or people of the Des- 
ert,* whose identity is fully established by Cassiodorus, Procopius, 
Marco-Polo, Rudbeck, Malte-Brun and other authors. Indeed the 
Khatai, pronounced Ke-ti, exist to this day; and they and their pres- 
ent country, northern Tibet, are both known by that name. When 
Marco-Polo traversed the old caravan route and entered China, this 
warlike race had conquered that empire and bestowed their name upon 
it, a name which the Venetian merchant afterwards brought to Eu- 
rope in the corrupted form of Cathai, or Cathay. Saca, Sacae, Saxae^ 
and Scythi, or Scythians, are likewise variants of one word, which in 
this case is taken from the name of the Solar god, les-saca. That the 
Getas and the Sacas were the same people is established by numerous 
evidences and corroborated by Buchanan, Rudbeck, Pinkerton, Jamie- 
son, Tod, Princeps and other Orientalists. Goth is not a variant or 
derivative of Getae, but is an English form of Got or Gotama, the 
name of the deity, worshipped by the Getae, or Saxae, after they had en- 
grafted some form of Buddhism upon their original worship of the Sun. * 
Hence the oldest of these names isCatti and as such it isoftenfound in- 
scribed on the Assyrian monuments. Even in the Greek literature that 
has been permitted to reach us, the Getae appear as early as the fifth 
century B.C., for Thucydides informs us that in his time they were em- 
ployed in arms against the Macedonians. From other sources we know 
that in the following century Philip made war upon them in Mcesia.* 

' Hug;h Murray, Trans. Royal Soc. Edinburgh, viii, 171; also a later work entitled 
"An Historical Account of Discoveries and Travels in Asia," i, 485. 

* Malte-Brun, Geog., 11, 24. * Noel, Myth., voc., *• Got." 

• Thucydides, Pel. War, year in, fin. The wars of Philip against the Getae are men- 
tioned in Q. Curtius, Supp. i, 5, 12. Tomi, Tomis, orTomos, 36 miles from the mouth 
of the Danube, was the capital of Lower Mcesia and the place of Ovid*s unexplained 
banishment by Augustus. It was inhabited or surrounded by the Getse. Ovid learnt 
their language and wrote a poem in it. This work may have been the source of some. 
of the muddled mythology of the sagas. 


If we seek for the origin of those hosts who overran the Roman em- 
pire during the Dark Ages in the evidences afforded by their stature, 
complexion, maritime habits, and fondness for a cold climate, these 
point to the north and to the seaside. Pliny the Elder repeats, after 
Cornelius Nepos, that in the consulship of QuintusMetellusCelerand 
Lucius Afranius (B. C. 60) certain Indians (any Asiatic race might 
have been called Indians at that time) who had sailed from their own 
country on a trading voyage, were cast away on the northern coasts 
of Europe, captured by the Suevians, and by them handed over to the 
Roman governor of Gaul/ These adventurers must have been blown 
around the North Cape; and their voyage indicates one of the paths 
by which the blue-eyed and yellow-haired Goths had previously found 
their way to northern Europe. By a similar path, that is, sailing al- 
ways in high latitudes, the Goths afterwards found their way to Ice- 
land, Greenland and America. 

In the fourth century B.C., Pytheas of Marseilles found Gutones 
or Goths, established along the shores of the Baltic sea for a distance 
of 6000 stadia, or 750 miles. This would extend their territory from 
the Neva to the Rhine. He mentions their island, Abalus, which 
Timasus called Basilia,* probably either Usedom or Wollin,and alludes 
to their neighbours, the Teutones, who traded with them for amber, 
which the latter doubtless carried into Greece.* We here say noth- 
ing of the traditional antiquity of certain northern cities, nor of the 
numerous dome-rings, tumuli, and other ancient Gothic remains found 
in Britain, because they have no positive dates. Relying solely upon 
evidences with dates we are warranted in concluding that the Goths 
occupied not only the Cimmerian Bosphorus, Pontus, Thracia and 
Mcesia, but also the shores of the Baltic, from the Gulf of Bothnia 
to the Firth of Forth ; in a word, that they encircled the northern and 
eastern frontiers of classical Europe, including Scandinavia,'* as early 
as the fifth century before our aera, possibly much earlier. 

' Pliny, Nat. Hist., 11, 67. Tacitus also says explicitly that ** the first migrations " 
^from Asia into northern Europe) *'were made by sea.*' Germania, 11. 

• Strabo, 2, etc.; Pliny, xxxvii, 11; see also iv, 27, 28. 

•To Pytheas, Caesar, Strabo, Pliny and Tacitus, ** Germany" meant all north- 
eastern Europe. This sweeping phraseology has bred a multitude of blunders. Herod- 
otus, Thalia, 115, mentions the amber (electrum) brought to Greece from the Northern 
sea. A recent German writer. Herr Meyer, throws doubt upon this source of amber 
and thinks that previous to the first century of the Christian aera the Roman supplies 
all came from the Orient; but he has evidently not seen a copy of Herodotus, nor made 
any analysis of Baltic and Burmese amber, whose relative proportions of succinic acid 
^ould have at once resolved his doubts in favour of the explicit statement of Herod- 
otus. London •* Chronicle," September 23rd, 1893. 

'^ From Scanda-nabhi, meaning Scanda chiefs. Pococke, 53. 


The religion of the Goths so far as it .s known to us was much cor- 
rupted; the numerous place-names in the north which bpgin withies; 
the octonary division of the year; the octonary ratio of gold and sil- 
ver ; the sacrifices of horses ; and many of their festivals, belong to the 
Solar worship; the worship of Bhadr, Balder, Teut, Tat, or Woden 
and of the Mother of God; the sacred sign of the svastica; and the 
absence of caste; these are Buddhic. On the other hand, the festi- 
val of the vernal equinox, the triune godship of Thor, Woden and 
Frica, the rite of baptism, the sacrifice of human beings, the institute 
of hirsars, and the code of retts, are Brahminical. The runic letters, 
which are peculiar to the Goths and which have been found either on 
bedrocks, or heavy boulders, or slabs, all the way from the banks of 
the Yen-Iesei river to Greenland, and except in the last named case 
always between latitude 50 and 60 north, point to the vicinity of that 
vast inland sea. Lake Baikal, as their original habitat. " Starting from 
this point, probabably as early as the eighth century before our aera, 
the Baltic Goths appear to have descended to the White sea, made 
their way around the Cape, and reconnoitered the coast of Norway, 
which in the Sagas, is called Halgaland, or the Holy Land, probably 
in reference to the religious rest or freedom which they had hoped to 
derive from their removal thither. It is likely that many such voy- 
ages were made and many colonies planted in Halgaland before the 
main body of the more northern Getas ventured to cross the steppes 
and approach their future country on horseback. Their route is in- 
dicated by the place-name of the god les, which, like a woodman's 
*' blaze" through a forest, they left wherever they dwelt. This name 
will be found in Russia and along both shores of the Baltic sea, as 
far west as Britain, circumstances which render it probable that 
these migrations were spread over a lengthy period. Some portions 
of this interval may be filled up from the meagre annals of the 
Massagetse, and other Desert tribes mentioned by Herodotus; but 
for the most part, it is blank. At the end of this time, that is to 
say« when Pytheas visited the Baltic, the Goths encircled northern 
Europe; and the same gods were worshipped and a similar dialect 
spoken certainly in Esthonia, North Britain and Northern France 
and probably at every seaport between Novgorod, Leith and the 

^' Rune is a Gothic word, meaning a magical letter, a mystery, a myth, and it had 
no more to do with runir, the Latin for spear, than it had with a catapult. The Greeks 
used the runic letters and avoided the Gothic language. In a similar way the Gaulish 
druids and Helvetians both used the Greek letters, but not the Greek language. Caesar, 
VI, 13; I, 29. 


mouth of the Loire, where Caesar found a powerful colony of the 

It will be remembered that the terms upon which the Goths and 
Romans dwelt in Britain, beginning with mutual respect and religious 
toleration, led to the enrollment of the former in the army, their ad- 
mission to citizenship and to frequent intermarriages between the Ro- 
man soldiers and provincial Gothic women. This good understanding, 
though interrupted for a time by the religious exactions of the Ju- 
Hani and Augustini, was restored when the impious religion declined, 
but not restored upon its former footing. The religious developement 
which had occurred in Rome was totally foreign to Gothic genius, 
which was ever opposed to hierarchical government, no matter under 
what name or pretence it came. The Goths of Britain, though proud 
of their Roman citizenship and loyal in their adhesion to the empire, 
had long neglected their kinsmen, the Sacae of the Baltic. The per- 
secutions of the Augustines induced them to remember their relatives 
and renew their former intimacy. The growth of the Roman hier- 
archy only served to reunite the Gothic tribes and races. They no 
longer sought alliance with Roman families, but with each other. The 
marriage of Thurber, king of the ** Scots " to the daughter of Froude 
III., of Denmark, A.D. 310-24, is an instance of this kind; it doubt- 
less found many followers both among the nobles and citizens." 

During the third and fourth centuries the Goths of the Baltic or- 
ganized numerous maritime expeditions which were despatched east 
and west to despoil the rich and now more and more detested shrines 
of Rome. One of these, descending the Dnieper, reinforced an an- 
cient colony of the same race in Moesia and Dacia which won its in- 
dependence from the Roman empire. " The centre of these operations 
appears to have been lestland, or Austriki — now known as Esthonia, 
etc., — and especially the port of Vinet. By the fifth century of our 
aera the Goths appear to have reduced to agriculture the large Scythian 
provinces of Gardariki and Holmgard, between which lay the grow- 
ing town of Novgorod, then a trading post between the Orient and 
northern Europe, afterwards to become the capital of the earliest re- 
public which followed the Roman Commonwealth. 

It is now necessary to allude to the Goths within the Roman em- 
pire. Between A.D. 284 and 304 at least six colonies of Goths were 

" Bala-deva. the god Baal, was the elder brother of Christna. Balder is a corruption. 
Sometimes Bhadr (Christna) and Balder are used to designate the same personage. 
Pococke, 299. *' Durham, i, 286. 

^* The ecclesistical account of the occupation of Lower Moesia is difficult to under- 
stand and impossible to believe. 


established in Gaul under the Roman emperors, or proconsuls. Of 
these, three were in Normandy, at or near Beauvais, Amiens, and Cam- 
brai, one on the Moselle near Treves, one at Troyes in Champagne, 
one atLangres, in the Haut Marne." A portion of these were the 
Norse-Burgundian prisoners taken either by Probus in 275, or by Max- 
iminian Hercules in 287. All of these colonists were employed as 
woodcutters, shepherds, and husbandmen ; and except when it was 
found practical or expedient to enroll them in the legions, they were 
denied the use of military weapons. On the other hand, they were 
permitted to acquire land, and retain their national religion and cus- 
toms. Among the latter was their inclination always to settle near 
the sea, or a navigable water-course. The Roman patricians of Gaul 
probably exulted in the thought that these pagans, lately an object 
of terror to the frontiers, now peacefully cleared and cultivated their 
farms, drove their cattle to the neighbouring fair, kept their roads 
and public works in order, and enhanced by their presence the value 
of lands. Their passionate love of freedom, their racial detestation 
of an hierarchy and the rebellious designs against Roman rule which 
were apt to be fostered by such prejudices, were forgotten ; for there 
appears to have been no warning of the coming storm. However, 
<:ome it did. Obtaining the assistance of their relatives and friends 
in Scandinavia and of allied or subject tribes in Scythia, lestia. Sax- 
ony and Denmark, the various communities of Goths combined in the 
fourth century, and swept, chiefly in two great torrents, one through 
northern Gaul, the other along the valley of the Danube. Augustine, 
of Hippo, has left us a highly coloured picture of the devastation which 
marked their path from Denmark through Holland to the sieges of 
Tournay, Reims, Amiens and Arras; while Procopius alludes to the 
revolt of Jovinus and the establishment of the Gothic kingdom of Bur- 
gundy. Long before the date assigned by the monks to the Gothic 
or Anglo-Saxon risings in Britain, the Goths were in the possession 
of the whole of northern and eastern Gaul ; and Gothic standards waved 
from Upsala to Marseilles, from Novgorod to the Western ocean. 

In the fifth century their sway extended continuously along the coasts 
of the northern seas, from Russia to the Irish channel. In the sixth 
century **Ivan Vidfami subdued the whole of Sviaveldi, (the Swedish 
realm) ; he also had Daneveldi, (Danish realm), a large part of Saxe- 
land, the whole of Austriki realm and the fifth part of England. From 
his kinsmen have come the kings of Denmark and Sweden, who have 

'^ For the struggles of Beauvais at a subsequent period against the pretensions and 
«xactions of the Roman hierarchy, sec Guizot's Hist. Civ., vol. in, Appendix, 


sole power in these lands." '* It should be observed that Ivan is here 
stated to have ** subdued" Sweden, and that he **had," probably 
meaning that he already had, all the other dominions mentioned. In- 
deed, a great part of them had been in possession of Norse kings for 
several centuries. In Ragnar Lodbrok's saga, cc. 10-19, we are told 
that Ivan won his English dominions from king Ella (560-87) and that 
he rebuilt London. An extension of such dominions may indeed have 
been acquired from king Ella; but as previously shown, the acquisi- 
tion of the northern portion of Britain by Norsemen had taken place 
centuries previously. If it be admitted with Gregory and Bede that 
the Franks and Anglo-Saxons spoke the same or nearly the same lan- 
guage, this extension of Gothic supremacy must also embrace both, 
shores of the Channel." 

Simultaneously with the rising of the northern,occurred that of the 
south-eastern, Goths under Alaric. Nurtured in the camps of Rome, 
this chieftain had learnt the perfected art of war in the civil contest 
between Theodosius I., and Eugenius. After the death of the con- 
queror, Alaric headed that formidable revolt of Goths, who, issuing- 
from Moesia, soon overran Greece and spread to Italy and Spain, where 
they were known as Visigoths. Their watchwords were Freedom and 
Spoil ; freedom from a hated worship of emperors and from the ex- 
hausting labour of the fields and mines, to which their fealty to the 
Roman government had exposed them ; freedom from the conscrip- 
tion; freedom from exactions for the benefit of a detested hier- 
archy; and the spoil of the patricians. More than once were the Goths 
baffled by the good fortune of the helpless Honorius, or else placated 
by bribery of office or treasure; but such concessions could but ill 
appease an injured and infuriated people in arms. Yet it was possibly 
with some reluctance that the Gothic chieftain gave the command 
which devoted the Eternal City to the licentious fury of his followers. 
The temples and sanctuaries of the ancient mythology were spared ; 
but all the rest, together with many valuable lives, werie swept away 
in the whirlwind of contempt and hatred which emperor-worship and 
its monstrous demands had invoked. 

** Ynglinga Saga, c. 45-6; Saxo Grammaticos; Du Chaillu, 1, 22; Durham, 1,288-9^ 
" Epistles, 54; Ecc. History; i, i, c. 23-5. 





Medieval Saxony described by Eg^nhhard consisted of the southern coasts of the North 
and Baltic seas — This was the original habitat of the Saxons of Britain — These were 
all Goths and worshippers of Woden — Reconcilement of the ancient texts with this 
view — Cxsar — Tacitus — Ptolemy — Julian — Eutropius — Ammianus Marcellinus — Si- 
donius ApoIIinaris — Procopius — Story of the conquest of Britain as told by the monks 
— It is contradicted by the archaeological remains and by antiquarian researches — 
Story of the conquest of Britain in the Sagas — It agrees with archaeology and with 
Eginhard — Intrinsic improbabilities of the monkish story — Maritime character of the 
Goths — Tacitus, Strabo, Ptolemy — Germany, or Alemannia, was situated south of 
Saxony — The Germans knew nothing of the sea and never entered Britain. 

IN embracing all the coasts of Europe under the misleading name 
of Germany, the Romans were followed by the early Christian 
writers, but what the Germans, (Hermiones, or Alemanni,) themselves 
called Germany was far less extensive. By them, the name was con- 
fined to the higher country south of the navigable Elbe and north of 
the Danube. Northward of this the land was called Saxony. It was 
peopled by a race differing from themselves in aspect, language and 
religion. Thisviewof Germany was evidently known to Tacitus. "The 
Ingaevones," says he, ** border on the sea-coast, the Hermiones in- 
habit the midland country, and the Istasvones occupy the remaining 
country." After this correct definition of Germany, he forgets all 
about it.* 

Pliny, Ptolemy and Procopius called the people of the Low Coun- 
tries (the Ingaevones of Tacitus) Goths, and Vandals, two branches 
of one trunk. Lesser divisions were known as the Gepidae, Heruli, 
Burgundians, etc. Down to the age of the Antonines, Gothic tribes 
occupied all of East Prussia, Mecklenburg, Denmark, and Friesland; ■ 
and they remained in those countries, mingling their blood with that 
of the aborigines, and forming those mixed races, of whom the most 
western were known as Jutes, Angles, Saxons, Frisians, and Franks. 

* Germania, ii. » Gibbon, i, 295. 


Eginhard thus alludes to and designates the Eastern tribes of Saxony: 
*'The wild and barbarous nations which inhabit Germany between 
the Rhine, the Vistula, the Ocean and the Danube, speak a very simi- 
lar language, but are widely different, both in manners and dress. 
Chief among these are the Welatabi, Sorabi, Abroditi, and Baemanni. 
With these there was fighting, but the rest, who were more numerous, 
quietly submitted." To whom? To Charlemagne, his master, who 
was their enemy and persecutor. In another place he alludes to * * that 
part of Germany between Saxony and the Danube." Thus Saxony 
included the sea-coast. Matthew Paris evidently alluded to a portion 
of this country as Gothland when he said: ** They, (the Tat-ers, or 
Tartars,) reduced to a desert the countries of Friesland, Gotland, Po- 
land, Bohemia, and both divisions of Hungary." • 

There were two lines of pagan states between the northern seas and 
the country of the Alemanni, or Upper Germany. The first line was 
along the coasts from the Rhine to the Vistula. This was collectively 
called Saxony; its inhabitants were Goths, its religion Wodenism.* 
The second line was between Saxony and Upper Germany and it con- 
sisted of the country conquered by the Eastern Franks. Upper Ger- 
many, or Germany proper, embraced the Alemanni, Thuringians, Ba- 
varians, and some other tribes who occupied the territory near the 
watershed between the sources of the Rhine and the Danube, in the 
modern Baden, Wurtemburg and Bavaria. In another place Eginhard 
thus describes the Baltic sea: ** There is a gulf running in from the 
Western ocean, stretching toward the east, its length has not been 
ascertained, but its breadth nowhere exceeds a hundred miles and in 
many places it is much narrower. Several nations dwell around this 
gulf, such as the Danes and Swedes. The latter, who are Northmen, 
occupy the northern shores and all the islands. The southern coasts 
are inhabited by Slavs, Histi, (Esthonians,) and other tribes, chief 
amongst these are the Welatabi, against whom the king (Charlemagne) 
was now waging war." Elsewhere, and still more explicitly, he de- 
scribes the Welatabi as Slavs, and his commentator, Mr. Glaister, 
locates them near the Elbe. 

Further on, Eginhard says: **The last war undertaken (by Char- 
lemagne) was against those Northmen who are called Danes, who at 
first as pirates and afterwards with a larger (royal) fleet were ravaging 

•Chronicles, I, 339. 

^ The statue of Irmansul, alluded to in Eginhard*s Annals of the first Saxon campaigrn 
and supposed by the older commentators to have been that of Hermann, is now be- 
lieved to have represented the Gothic god Woden. Grimm's Deutsche Mythologie, i, 
325, cited in Bryce, 69. 


the coasts of Gaul and Germany. Their king, Godfrey, was puffed 
up with the delusive hope of making himself master of all Germany 
and persisted in regarding Frisia and Saxony as his own provinces. 
He had already brought the Abroditi, (a tribe of Slavs,) under his 
power and had made them tributary to him. He used even to boast 
that he would shortly appear with all his forces at Aix-la-Chapelle, 
where the king's court was held. Foolish as his talk was, there were 
some who did not altogether discredit him. " Shortly afterward, (A. D. 
319,) Godfrey, or Gotofrid,the pagan, was poisoned, and the war ended 
with the triumph of Louis le Debonnair, Charlemagne having died in 
814. This passage discloses the following facts: that the Northmen 
had conquered those Slavs who previously had dwelt on the southern 
shores of the North and Baltic seas, therefore that the dominions of the 
former afterwards embraced both the northern and southern shores; 
that the Abroditi, a Slavic tribe, had become tributary to the North- 
men; that Charlemajg^neand Louis succeeded in driving the Northmen 
away ; that the Northmen nevertheless regarded and claimed the coasts 
of Frisia and Saxony, which Eginhard calls the coast of Germany, as 
their own provinces, and felt so certain of re-possessing them that 
they even boasted of soon taking Aix-la-Chapelle ; that this boast was 
not so empty but that some people about Charlemagne's court deemed 
it practicable of realization. 

In fact, the Goths made their boast good, for within twenty years 
of the death of Gotofrid, they actually stabled their horses in the ca- 
thedral church of Aix-la-Chapelle. As to holding the southern coasts 
of the Baltic, they regained possession of them and held them until 
the thirteenth century. The Saxony mentioned by the monks Gildas, 
Nennius, and Bede, as the country from which the invaders of Eng- 
land issued, was therefore the Saxony of Eginhard, a sea-coast prov- 
ince of great extent, governed and inhabited by the Goths, a seafaring 
people, who professed the religion of Woden and who held the Slavs 
in thraldom.* It is necessary to hold this conclusion firmly in mind, 
for what with the confusion of the Greek and Roman writers, the cor- 
rupted cosmogonies of the monks, and the pretensions of the Carlo- 
vingians and afterwards of the Guelfs and Ghibellines, the medieval 

* The appearance of Gothic physiognomies in parts of Germany, a fact that has puz- 
zled some ethnologists and rendered them reluctant to accept any theory which removes 
the Germans from participation in the conquest of Britain, is easily accounted for. 
Says Eginhard, of Charlemagne: "He transported ten thousand men (Saxon Goths) 
taken from both banks of the Elbe, together with their wives and children, and dis- 
tributed them here and there in very small groups throughout Gaul and Germany." 
Ten thousund men implies a body of 50,ocx> men, women, and children. 


history of the country is so muddled, that it does not agree with its 
archaeological monuments, no useful lessons can be drawn from it, and 
the Gothic occupation of Englandhasbeendepri vedof all significance. ^ 

Having now gained this solid ground of vantage let us rest a mo* 
ment and glance over the ancient texts. According to Tacitus, the 
dominant people of the northern coasts were the Suiones. These, he 
said, ruled the adjacent seas, ipso in oceano. They are not to be con- 
fused with the Suevians, a Slavic tribe, who braided their hair and 
tied it up into a knot on top of the head.* Malte-Brun, himself a Goth, 
connects Suione with Sver and Sweden, and these with Sueria, or Si- 
beria, the northern country. If there is anything reliable in all this, 
Suione meant simply a Norseman. Another verbal theory is that Suione 
was a corruption of Saxone. From Tacitus to Eginhard not a word 
is said in. any author about the Suiones. Tacitus describes them as a 
numerous people, possessing a powerful marine. After this descrip- 
tion they suddenly disappear from history and only pop up again in 
the reign of Charlemagne, whose biographer mentions the Suiones and 
Danes as one people — which of course they were — and enemies to the 
Roman religion of his master, which was true, even if, as had pre- 
viously been alleged by Procopious, a portion of them were Christians 
of the Arian sect. It is inconceivable that the Suiones perished after 
Tacitus immortalized them, to reappear only when Charlemagne sighed 
for more religions to subdue. The term Saxone was used by Ptolemy 
and the universality of his work gave currency to the corruption. 
Whether Suione is derived from north, or whether it was corrupted 
from Saxone, or whether, as another monkish verbalist contends, Sax- 
one is from Saxci, the Gothic word for an axe, we deem of little im- 
portance. History is too heavy a weight to be suspended by a word, 
and we place far more reliance on the appearance and habits of the 
people. These declare that in the fifth century the entire northern 
coasts of Europe had been conquered and inhabited by one race of 
men, and that that race was the Gothic. 

The Angles of an earlier date are alluded to by Tacitus, but only 
to say that in common with several tribes on the coast, they especially 
revered the goddess Hertha, or Earth, whose grove or sanctuary was 
on a small island in the Northern sea. This is believed to mean the 

* " The name of Saxons was borne by all the nations who dwelt on the banks of the 
Weser and the Elbe, from Hamburgh to Moravia and from Mentz to the Baltic sea. 
They, as well as all the north, were pagans." Voltaire's "Gen. Hist./* i, 43. 

^ It will be recollected that the Suevians arrested the Gothic adventurers who came 
by the North Cape and handed them over to the Roman authorities. The Goths of a 
subsequent age amply repaid this inhospitality. 


island of Heligoland, whose name agrees with the ancient Gothic name 
' of Norway, which was Halgaland, or holy-land. Hertha, whose other 
name was Frica, was the Mother of God, one of the divinities of the 
Gothic mythology. Her festival was celebrated at Easter by the sac- 
rifice of a hag.' Balder, a divinity of the Angles, was that son of 
Woden whose death and resurrection, after nine days, formed the sub* 
ject of the earliest devotions of that tribe. (Noel.) 

The Venedians of Tacitus, the Venicontes of North Britain, the 
Veneti who nearly captured Julius Caesar in a naval skirmish off the 
coast of Brittany, and the Vends or Vendians of Vinland, so often 
mentioned in the Norse sagas appear to have been the same people, 
or a people from the same place.* Caesar credits the Vendians with a 
numerous fleet of oak-built galleys, some of which carried leather 
sails, and he notes the rare skill with which they were handled. Ab* 
sorbed in the task of reading his fellow countrymen a moral lesson, 
by means of his treatise on Germania, Tacitus forgets to notice these 
sails, which the more practical Caesar evidently observed with both, 
eyes. As to the Venedians, their galleys must have been at sea whea 
the informants of the Roman moralist visited their ports ; for no ships 
are mentioned and no sea-faring people, only a band of wanderers, 
who lived upon the plunder of a wild country. Jornandes, c. 24, say& 
the Veneti were Slavs. If there was any foundation for this last as- 
sertion, which is doubtful, it was that the Veneti had conquered and 
amalgamated with one of the coast tribes of the Baltic. It is this mix- 
ture of Gothic and Slavic blood and language, added to the sweeping 
use of the word Germany, which has introduced so much confusion 
into the study of the ancient tribes of Europe. In the saga of Mag- 
nus the Good the king says that in his absence Denmark was often 
attacked by the "Vendians, Courlanders, and others, from Austrveg 
(lestia) and by the Saxas also." All these were undoubtedly Gothic 
tribes who had conquered the Baltic coasts, sometimes mingling their 
blood with the natives and sometimes holding them in thraldom. 

After the Cimbri and Teutones were exterminated by Marius, about 
B.C. 100, their country (the modern Holstein,Schleswick, and Jutland) 
remaining entirely desolate, until it was re-peopled by Gothic tribes, 
whose further movement into Europe may have been accelerated by 
the disturbance in the Asiatic populations, occasioned by Pompey's 
operations between the Euxine and Caspian.'* If, from this timefor-* 

' The Greeks sacrificed a hog at the same season to Ceres. Thucydides; Ovid, Fasti, 1,1. 
* See also Herodotus, Clio, 196, and elsewhere for allusions to the Venetians of 11. 
lyria; also Guest's ** Origines Celtae." 

" The AbW Raynal, ** History of the East and West Indies," book v. 


ivard, we follow the ancient authors who mention the Saxons, it will 
be perceived that they are alluding to these same Gothic tribes, who 
came out of Asia and peopled the waste that Marius had created by 
exterminating the Cimbrians and Teutones. 

Ptolemy locates the Saxons in the Cimbric Chersonesus, now known 
as Denmark." The emperor Julian couples the Franks and Saxons 
together as one people." Eutropius states that about A.D. 287 the 
Franks and Saxons (classing them together) infested the coasts of 
Belgica and Amorica, that is to say, Brittany and Normandy: " Quod 
Franci et Saxones infestabant. " " Ammianus Marcellinus says : ** The 
Franks and Saxons (Franci et Saxones) were ravaging* the districts 
of Gaul. *' ** Sidonius ApoUinaris says : ** The Saxons are highly skilled 
in the art of navigation and familiar with the dangers of the sea." " 
This could only mean a Gothic tribe. Procopius speaks of the Goths, 
Vandals, and Gepidse, as in all respects one people, and he describes 
them as of fair complexion, with reddish or yellow hair, and tall, manly, 
forms. •* They are governed by the same laws and customs, they were 
formerly of the same heathen religion and are now Christians of the 
Arian sect. Their language is called Gothic and they hold themselves 
to be one nation descended from one stock. " Strabo, Tacitus and Ju- 
venal give the same description and add blue eyes. This is a descrip- 
tion of all the Gothic tribes, but of only a portion of the German ones. 

These various statements make it evident that all the maritime and 
ripuarian tribes of northern Europe were Goths, that they were origin- 
ally Sun-worshippers, then followers of Woden and afterwards Arians; 
and that they included the Suiones, Ingsevones, Angles, Jutes, Saxons, 
Salic Franks, Vandals, and Gepidae.** The Vends were either wholly 
or partly Gothic, probably the former. That the Angles, Jutes, Saxons 
and Danes were all Goths, all maritime races, all worshippers of Wo- 
den, was the opinion of the learned Dr. Henry, who says: "Although 
these nations were called by different names they were all descended 
from the same origin, spoke the same language, and had the same 
national manners and customs." ^^ If we consult the Norse sagas we 
shall find a complete confirmation of this view. The Rimbegla (four- 
.teenth century) states that in ancient times the same language was 
spoken in Saxony and Scandinavia. **For it is truly told that the 
tongue which we call Norrean came with them to the North and 

" Geog., n, 2. " Orat., i. " Brev. History, ix, 21. 

'* Rerura Gestrurum, lib., xxvii, 8; 5. " Lib., in, Epist. 6. 

" '* The Vandals and Goths were originally one great people. Plinius and Procopius 
agree in this opinion. They lived in distant ages and possessed different means of in- 
vestigating the truth." Gibbon. " History Brit., iv, ii, 89. 


was spoken in Saxland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and part of 
England. »■ 

The archaeological collections in England, Norway, Denmark and 
Sweden, tell the same story. They contain a number of objects, such 
as clothing, weapons and implements, personal ornaments, horse trap- 
pings, etc. , of precisely similar appearance, mostly recovered from 
graves, which objects are labelled in the museums of the first named 
country * * Anglo-Saxon, " and in the others * * Swedish, " * 'Norwegian, " 
** Danish," or simply ** Gothic," or ** Norse." Bearing in mind the 
exact similarity of these objects, it is difficult to refrain from the 
conclusion that they belonged to people of a common race or origin; 
and that the terms Goths, Jutes, Angles, Saxons, Salic Franks and 
Northmen are convertible. This type of archaeological remains is not 
found far beyond the shores of the Baltic and North seas, chiefly in 
lestland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Friesland, Normandy and Brit- 
ain ; no such remains occur in interior Germany or Gaul ; and the con- 
clusion appears irresistible that they belonged to maritime tribes who 
were not connected with the people of the remoter portions of those 
countries. This marks them as Gothic. The religious symbol of the 
svastica and the runic signs found with many of these remains also 
denote their Gothic origin. The Goths wore their hair long, and 
parted in the middle. Clovis and Clothilde were both called ''the 
long-haired." Indeed all the Merovingian Franks wore their hair 
long." Contrariwise, Tacitus, Seneca, Martial, and Silius Italicusall 
remarked that the Suevians and other tribes, whom we know from 
their enmity to the Goths were not of the same race, wore their hair 
plaited and coiled up in a knot on top of the head, like the Chinese 
of to-day. Ancient Saxony was a Gothic province which included all 
the maritime states on the southern coasts of the Baltic and North 
seas, and it was from various parts of this province that aid was ob- 
tained for those attacks of the Gothic insurgents in Roman Britain, 
which, extending over several hundred years, ended in the establish- 
ment of the heptarchical kingdoms. The insurgents were Goths and 
polytheists. They were not Slavs, they were not Teutones, they were 
not Alemanni, (Germans,) they were chiefly Anglesh-men and they 
called their new conquest Angleland, and so their descendants remain, 
and so the land is called to-day. 

For the preservation of their identity the conquerors of Britain for- 
tunately possessed a characteristic which no amount of historical con- 
fusion or monkish perversion has succeeded either in effacing or con- 

*• Rimbegla, in, i. "Guizot. iii, 67. 



cealing. They were born sailors, they lived upon the sea, ipso in 
oceano, and when they died, they asked to be buried in it, or upon 
some eminence from whence it could be seen. More Gothic than any- 
thing else about them, was their maritime character and their love of 
ships. In these they made their homes, with these they built their 
tombs, and from these, in after times, they patterned their lofty ca- 
thedral arches. This maritime character marked the northern Goths 
at their first appearance upon the pages of history; it marked them, 
when, before the Christian aera, they overran the northern coasts of 
Europe and appeared in Britain; it marked them when afterwards 
they stretched across the Western ocean and reached America ; and it 
marks their descendants who occupy both sides of that ocean to-day. 
Says Grotius of the maritime laws of Wisby: **Qu3e de maritimis 
Tiegotiis insulae Gothlandiaehabitatoribus placuerunt tantum in se hab- 
ent tum equitates tum prudentiae ut omnes oceani accolse eo, non tan- 
quam proprio, sed velut gentium, jure utantur." *• 

The Sagas of the pagan Goths may have been destroyed or per- 
verted; the marks of their race upon the developement of Britain may 
have been effaced or distorted ; but their archaeological remains and 
numismatic monuments survive; and these shed enough light upon 
their achievements and policy to prove, at least, the important part 
they played in the developement of English character and social 
life.'* The conquest not only ot Britain but of all the Western prov- 
inces of Rome, as well as the Discovery of America in the eleventh 
century, was effected by the Goths, who, because they refused to yield 
at once to the Roman church, have been robbed of the glory of these 
great achievements. On the contrary, the German tribes never pos- 
sessed any ships and understood nothing of navigation. 

In Tacitus' account of the German tribes, A. D. 98, none of them 
are described as possessing any boats or ships. Neither Strabo nor 
Ptolemy describe any of those tribes as maritime. Afterwards, during 
the decline of the Roman power, the entire sea-coasts of the north 
fell into possession of the Goths, and during the third, fourth, and 
fifth centuries, they frequently sailed up the northern rivers and sacked 
the towns of Upper Germany, escaping to the sea with their booty. 
Sidonius ApoUinaris, a writer of the fifth century, says: ** The Sax- 
ons are well acquainted with the art of navigation and familiar with 
the dangers of the sea.'*** Indeed, these maritime raids of the Norse- 

•® Prolegomena ad Procopium, p. 64; McCulloch, Geog. Die, art. "Gotland." 
*' Sir F. Palgrave, vol. I, chapter 3, shows that analogous Gothic customs prevailed 
in England, Spain, Lombardy, Saxony, etc., in short, wherever Gothic arms prevailed. 
'* Liber, in, Epistola, 6. 


men were continued down to the time of Charlemagne, who is said to 
have shed tears at his inability to pursue them on the sea and punish 

On the other hand, no German fleet ever attacked these Goths, or 
repulsed them from their rivers or settlements. If the Germans could 
not defend their own homes from the Goths, how can it be believed 
that they successfully conducted a maritime expedition to Britain, 
across a sea infested by Goths? As the date of the pretended invasion 
of Britain by Hengist and Horsa tallies with the period of the inva- 
sion of Germany, Saxony, and Gaul by the Chinese Huns, under At- 
tila,it is possible that the legends of Gildas and Nennius were invented, 
for one reason, in order to account for the presence of the Germans 
who. fled before these fierce destroyers and gained a refuge in Britain. 
However this maybe, it is certain that at this period the Gothic tribes 
were in almost undisputed possession of the open parts of Britain, 
their sway only being broken by the walled towns still held by the Ro- 
mano-British. Consequently the Germans who entered Britain, if they 
entered it at all at this period, did so, not as conquerors of the Ro- 
mans, but as guests of the Goths. As such, their numbers must have 
been comparatively small and their influence nil. 

When Alfred determined to oppose the Goths upon their favourite 
element, it took him four years to construct the six small vessels with 
which he put to sea in 875. After the victory of his land forces over 
the Gothic host at Eddington, in 878, he built a larger fleet, but was 
obliged to man it with recruits from the ranks of his enemies, or with 
pirates, as the Goths were then called by the Christians. To these 
he added certain ripuarian Saxons and Frisians, whom he invited to 
come from the Continent, and all of whom were probably of Gothic 
origin or admixture. There was no help for it. The Goths and their 
Gotho-Slavic broods, were the only seamen* of those times. The ear- 
liest notice of any naval progress on the part of the Germans occurs 
during the sera of Charlemagne, but this merely relates to a fleet of 
river boats, built to repel the dreaded invasions of the Northmen.** 
The Germans had no sea-boats, knew nothing of navigation,and dared 
not venture upon the sea. Contrariwise, the Goths had been seamen 
and hardy navigators at all times since the dawn of northern history. 
Says Tacitus of the Suiones: '^ In addition to the strength of their 
armies, they have a powerful naval force. *The form of their ship is 
peculiar. Every vessel has a prow at each end and by that contrivance 

*' Chateaubriand, Etudes Historiques; Alvaies, History Fr., p. 103. 

** Eginhard's Life of Charlemagne, and Voltaire's General History, i, 55. 


is always ready to make head either way. " This is precisely the shape 
of the Norse ships which were used as mausoleums and have been ex- 
humed in modern days at Sandefiord and other places in Scandinavia, 
several of which were examined by the writer during a visit to Norway. 
This burial custom, more than any other, marks the maritime charac- 
ter of the Goths. When it was too expensive or inconvenient to bury the 
remains of their heroes in actual ships, as many of them were buried, 
they were deposited in ship-shaped tumuli erected on some head-land 
of the coast. The sea had been their home during life, it was the dy- 
ing wish of these rovers to lie close to it even after death. The ex- 
peditions both of Eric the Red and of Columbus were undertaken by 
Goths: Columbus himself being one of the few adventurers in his own 
fleet, who was not of Gothic blood. From any point of view, this 
race was therefore the first to cross the Western ocean. To-day they 
occupy both shores of it, the Norsemen in Scandinavia, the so-called 
Anglo-Saxons in Britain and America, the Franks in France, and the 
Visigoths in Spain. Their shipping almost entirely monopolizes its 
commerce; so that among the twenty odd maritime flags of the world, 
scarcely more than one is ever to be seen on the Atlantic that is not 
of Gothic origin.** 

*^ Hidalgo, the Spanish term for a nobleman, (in Portuguese, Fidalgo,) is from fijo- 
dal-Goda, afterwards hijo-dal-Goda, ** the son of a Goth." It originated during the 
Visigothic supremacy in Spain and was used as a term of distinction for the sons of 
that conquering race. The Spanish proverb that the king (however powerful) "can- 
not make an hidalgo ** sufficiently confirms the origin and significance of the term. 
Hampson, "Origines Patriciae." 




Evangelization of Gaul and Britain — Of Saxony — Altered policy of the Church— 
Extermination of the Saxons — Of the Avars — The plunder sent to Rome — Papal in- 
struments — Charles Martel — Pepin — Charlemagne — Henry the Fowler — Edward — 
Otto — The Teutonic Knights of St. Mary— The Gothic Hansa of the dark ages— The 
ruined cities of Julin, Winet, Bardewick, Luneburg, Old Novgorod, etc. — They are 
destroyed by order of the Medieval popes and emperors, and their inhabitants slaugh- 
tered, or else enslaved and transported — Creation of a christian Hansa in the thirteenth 
century — This is planted upon the ruins of the other. 

THE evangelization of Gaul appears to have preceded that of Brit- 
ain by more than a century. The first christian chieftain of 
Gaul is said to have been Clovis, whilst the first christian chieftain of 
Britain was Ethelbert of Kent, fully a century later. The reason for 
this difference in time was probably the preponderance of druidical 
worshippers in Gaul and of Gothic polytheists in Britain. The church 
of Rome, as well when it was pagan, as afterwards when it became 
christian, had been in the habit of making concessions to druidism ; 
but it had not yet learnt how to conciliate the fierce worshippers of 
Woden and Thor. The Gauls were accustomed to hierarchical rule; 
the Goths refused to be forced or urged, and had to be lured into it; 
and, as this process was interrupted by frequent recantations on their- 
part, the good work went on but slowly. 

By the eighth century the church had conquered in Gaul, not merely, 
as in Britain, a number of separate chieftains, whose fealty might be 
lost at any time, it had utilized the ancient priests of Hesus to evan- 
gelize (as it was deemed) an entire people.* The druids were not dif- 
ficult to conciliate. The restoration of their livings, the prospect of 
ecclesiastical promotion, and the retention and liberal adoption of 
their sacred myths, symbols, ceremonies, and festivals, such were evi- 

'The Rev. Dr. Henry, (Hist. Brit.,i, i, 15 5,) identifies the Gaulic and Gallician god 
Hesus with the Hebrew IsI'Izzuz, ** the Lord mighty in battle.** The name is omitted 
in the Eng. trans, of Psalms, xxiv., 8, although it appears in the original Hebrew. 


dently the means employed to convert these formidable enemies of 
Christianity into tractable followers. We do not continue to set up 
Christmas- trees and mistletoe-boughs for nothing; they mark some 
of the numerous concessions which our forefathers, struggling against 
a world filled with low forms of religion, were obliged to make to 
druidism. Nor was the evangelization of Gaul itself effected in a day. 
Between the conversion of Clovis and the evangelization of Gaul, two 
centuries elapsed. 

It was in the eighth century, then, that the church in Gaul ceased 
to concede, and by a revulsion of policy — which, though natural en- 
ough at that period, our far more elevated Christianity of to-day would 
condemn — ^became aggressive. Among the instruments of this aggres- 
sion were Pepin of Heristal, the grandson of Arnoul or Arnulf, bishop 
of Metz, in Austrasia,* and Pepin's illegitimate descendants, Charles 
Martel, Pepin le Bref and Charlemagne; all of whom were success- 
ively employed in the endeavour to plant the Roman gospel in Gothic 
Saxony and the Low Countries. Hitherto this planting had been of 
a persuasive character; in the eighth century, if the statues of Woden 
and Thor could have foreseen what was coming, they would have ex- 
uded crimson tears. 

In the tragedies prepared for the entertainment of refined audiences 
the interludes are often filled with comic passages; in the gruesome 
drama of the Medieval empire all the scenes are filled with atrocious 
deeds. From the extermination of the Saxons to that of the Albigenses, 
from the extermination of the Albigenses to that of the native races 
of America, the medieval emperors knew but one way of extending 
their realms and the popes but one method of disseminating the gos- 
pel, and that was with the sword. Blood, blood, blood, was the eternal 
cry of Europe. The ancients, who in story-books and in fanciful paint- 
ings of the Colisseum, are represented as monsters of cruelty, were mere 
tyros in throat-cutting, compared with the pious monarchs of medieval 
Europe. The Arabs, whose apostle we feelingly depict with the Ko- 
ran in one hand and a scymeter in the other, were meek lambs com- 
pared with the popes. The ancient Romans subjugated and enslaved, 
but did not exterminate, the aborigines of Europe; the Arabs offered 
the more generous alternative of tribute,or conversion; but the evan- 
gels of the medieval age were seldom satisfied with either enslave- 
ment or tribute. Their policy was far more drastic and rarely stopped 

* This Arnoul, if not Indeed an altogether mythical personage, must have flourished 
about the middle of the sixth century. Some authorities regard Pepin Heristal asthe 
grandson of Pepin of Lunden, or Landen, a place near the modern Brussels. 


short of complete extinction.' Let not the reader make the mistake 
of supposing that the motive of these avowals is to depreciate a re- 
ligion which we have elsewhere proclaimed shall outlast all others; 
on the contrary, its object is to uphold and maintain it, by removing 
the frail fictions which have hitherto been relied upon for its defence, 
but which, it is plain enough, can be relied upon no longer, and by 
substituting in their place, the solid bulwark of truth. 

If Charlemagne could have launched and manAed a fleet of war- 
ships on the Baltic, the Gothic race would probably have been entirely 
exterminated. As he could not reach Upsala or York, he tore Barde- 
wick to pieces, levelled Luneburg to the dust and distributed such of 
their inhabitants as survived the slaughter, to improve the breed of 
his evangelized subjects. Ten thousand families of them were sent 
to the remote parts of Germany and Gaul. For more than thirty years 
he continued this savage policy towards Gothic Saxony, slaying, burn- 
ing and torturing the heathen, uprooting, destroying and scattering 
them to the winds; and, when sated with blood and exhausted by holy 
ardour, he returned to Aix-la-Chapelle, it was only to equip himself 
for a similar attack upon the Avars. Says Enginhard (his secretary) : 
** How many battles were fought and how much blood was shed, is 
fully attested by the complete depopulation of Pannonia— even the 
Koyal palace of the Chagan is so obliterated that no trace remains of 
a human habitation.^ In this war perished the entire nobility of the 
Avars, their very nationality was destroyed. All their riches and treas- 
ures, which they had long been accumulating, were carried away, nor 
can memory recall any war of the Franks " (which here means Ger- 
mans) **in which they gained greater booty, or by which they have 
been more enriched. Indeed we may confess that up to this time, the 
Franks (Germans) appeared to be a poor nation ; but so much gold 
and silver was found in the palace of the Chagan * and such a quan- 
tity of valuable spoil was taken in the battles, as can scarcely be be- 
lieved. The Franks (Germans) justly spoiled the Huns of this booty, 
for the Huns themselves had no right to it, it being the plunder they 
captured from others." 

It seems difficult to believe that it was a minister of the gospel who 
wrote thus lightly of spoil, death and extermination ; but such is nev- 
theless the fact. A similar degree of moral turpitude will be found 
displayed upon every page of medieval history. Charlemagne's mo- 
tives are avowed candidly enough : **He (Charlemagne) held the 

* Compare Deut., vii, 2; a text which they never forgot. 

The Ma^ars.worshippers of Isten, did not enter Hungary until about A.D. 887. 

* The title suggests that of the secular king of Japan: the shogun. 


church of the blessed Peter the Apostle, at Rome, in far higher re* 
gard than any other place of sanctity and veneration " (he was crowned 
there) ^*and he enriched its treasury with a great quantity of gold, 
silver and gems. To the pope he made many rich presents, and noth- 
ing lay nearerer his heart, during his whole reign, than that the city 
of Rome should attain to its ancient importance by his zeal and pat- 
ronage and that the church of St. Peter should, through him, not only 
be in safe keeping and protection, but should also, by his wealth, be 
ennobled and enriched beyond all other churches." 

To enrich the church, to adorn it like the pagan temples of antiquity, 
with gold and silver vessels and rich hangings and pictures, this was 
the dream, alike of the conquerors of Europe and America. After 
loading it with wealth during his lifetime, Charlemagne bequeathed 
to this church nearly half of his treasure and the administration of 
the remainder after death. In the same way did the conquerors of 
Mexico, Guatemala and Peru pave with silver bricks the roads upon 
which bishops were to ride and bequeath bags of golden pesos for 
masses to the repose of their own souls. The method of dealing with 
the persons and property of pagans, which Charlemagne was made the 
instrument of inaugurating, though often compelled to be laid aside, 
during the long conflict between pope and emperor which followed 
his death, was nevertheless not forgotten; and the experience which 
Guelfs and Ghibellines acquired in the art of killing one another, was, 
in the intervals of the quarrel, turned to ampler account in their united 
efforts to exterminate heresy. Whenever pope and emperor sounded 
a temporary cessation of hostilities, then the heretical Goths, Mos* 
lems and Jews had cause to tremble. 

Between 927 and 1162 the various emperors of the West, among 
them Henry the Fowler, Otto I., and Conrad III., and in the last named 
year Henry Lion, the Duke of Bavaria and Saxony, employed their 
leisure in despoiling and exterminating the coast-tribes of Vandals 
and their thralls the Slavs, and supplying their places with christians 
brought from other places. Those who were not killed or driven out 
of the country, were sold into slavery, the Slavs to the Danes, and 
the Vandals to the Poles and Bohemians. Such was the manner in 
which Christianity was introduced into these countries.* ** Whereby," 
saysHelmoldus, referring to this transaction, ** the bishops and clergy 
of Saxony rejoiced much, as the churches were increased as well as 
the tithes. " ^ In 1 109, when Henry Lion conquered the once rich isle 

* Anderson's History of Commerce, i, 153-159. 

^ Chron. Slavonim, written about A.D. 11 70, lib., 11, chap. 89. 


of Rugen, he found the pagan Goths using linen-cloth for money, a 
sure sign of petty trade and general poverty. Indeed the tribute of 
4400 marks which he laid upon them, could not be paid.* 

In 1080 Canute IV., king of Denmark, tried to persuade the Livon- 
ians, whom he claimed as his tributary subjects, to adopt Christianity; 
but he did not succeed. In 1172 the Lubeckers sent some mission- 
aries by sea to Livonia, but they failed to convert the pagans. In 1 198, 
the Bremeners founded Riga, built a fort on the Duna, erected a chapel, 
and appointed Albert bishop of the country. Then they called in the 
Teutonic monk-knights, to whom the bishop granted one-third of the 
land belonging to the Livonian pagans. After having plundered and 
driven away the latter, the country was planted with christian colo- 
nists and thus rendered tributary to the pope.' In 11 60 Henry Lion 
captured, sacked and destroyed the Gothic city of Kessin in Meck- 
lenburg, and out of its materials he walled and fortified the city of 
Rostock, until then an obscure village. The inhabitants of Kessin 
were slain or driven away, and their places supplied with christians 
planted in Rostock." 

Han or hong is a Mongolian word, meaning a clan, corporation, guild, 
company, or association. Hansa is its Latin form. The Gothic race 
appears to have brought this term into Europe in the form of han; 
the Huns, a Chinese race, who had been conquered by the Mongols 
and driven away from Tartary, brought the term into Europe in the 
form of hong." In that distorted and distracting narrative of events 
which the church of Rome has substituted for the history of Europe, 
there is no mention of a pagan Hanseatic league, nor of the famous 
towns which belonged to it and which were plundered and destroyed 
by Charles Martel, Charlemagne and other christian princes, nor of 
the treasure which Charlemagne obtained and which his priest-ridden 
grandson Lothaire presented to the See of Rome, nor of the cost of 
this treasure in blood and tears and sweat. It will be necessary to 
briefly supply some of these expurgated particulars. To begin with, 
the numbers, riches and commerce of the Baltic Vends, Vendiansor 
Venetians, was so great in the time of Strabo that that geographer 
called their sea. Sinus Venedicus, or the Venetian Gulf. The nature 
and extent of their commerce is more particularly mentioned by the 
medieval writers. 

Werdenhagen and other authors assert that ages before the estab- 

^ Helmodus, i, 39; Anderson, i, 143. 

'Anderson, I, 157. "Anderson, i, 159. 

1* Han is the proper name of China. (Fa-Hian, in Beal, i, xlv.) The modem com- 
panies of Hungarian militia are called honveds. 


lishment of the christian hansa, there existed a number of important 
commercial cities on the shores of the Baltic and North seas and upon 
the lower banks of the rivers that empty into them, including the 
Volkof, Dwina, Memel, Vistula, Oder, Khine, Elbe, Aller,Ems,Iessel, 
and Weser, the last named river flowing through the ancient country 
of the Salian Franks: that among these cities were Dantzic, (Danes- 
wick,) Julin, Winet or Venet, Bardewick, Munster, Dortmund, Nime- 
guen, Tiel and Deventer; that the confederacy included such distant 
places as Novgorod, a Gothic settlement on the Volkof, and Cologne 
on the Rhine; that these cities were all connected together in a han, 
or confederacy; that as between themselves they practiced freedom 
of trade; and that they were either entirely destroyed or conquered 
and their inhabitants put to the sword, or banished to make room for 
christians, who were substituted in their places, in either the same or 
a similar confederacy. 

Julin is described by Adam of Bremen, writing about the year 1080, 
as being situated on the isle of Wollin, opposite the mouth of the river 
Oder, on the Baltic shore of Pomerania. He calls it ^' the noble and 
renowned city of Julin, a most celebrated mart both for barbarians 
and Greeks,*' meaning, possibly, pagans and christians, and he say& 
that the Saxons are permitted to live there ** provided they do not 
publicly profess Christianity.** '* He concludes with the remark that 
*' although the city still remained in paganism, nevertheless in point 
of justice and hospitality, no people whatever are more honourable 
and generous. This city is filled with the merchandise of all the north- 
ern nations and abounds in everything that is curious and rare." Hel- 
moldus regarded it as the greatest city in Europe." Peter Heylya 
gives it the name of Wollin. Meursius, in his Historia Danica, calls it 
the capital and principal town of the Vandals; and Gibbon says the 
Vandals were Goths. 

There are various accounts of the destruction of Julin, the most 
probable one being that about 1130 it was sacked, depopulated and 
occupied by christian forces; and that some fifty years after it had 
thus been plundered and evangelized, it was attacked by a fleet of 
Goths under the command of Waldemar I., king of Denmark, who 
burnt it to the ground. What was left of its commerce after this event, 
went to Lubeck. Many of the inhabitants sought refuge in the sur* 
rounding country, and (notwithstanding their alleged evangelization) 

" Probably the christianized Saxons sent by Canute IV. 

" Helmoldus was a christian priest employed in the work of converting the pagans. 
The ** noble city of Julin *' is alluded to by Adam of Bremen, Hist. Ecc, p. 19, who 
is cited by Gibbon, v, 56411. 


down to the last quarter of the thirteenth century they were noted 
for paganism, to which it seems they had returned. The date of the 
destruction of Julin nearly coincides with that of the establishment 
of the christian hansa in the newly erected city of Lubeck, which event, 
Werdenhagen, antedates about forty years by assigning it to the year 
II 69. The hansa after having been cleansed of its pagan proprietors 
and members, settled upon Lubeck for its head-city, adopted a con- 
stitution similar to that which had governed the Gothic hansa, and 
after an interval, it elected for its protector, the Grand Master of the 
Knights of the Teutonic Order. 

Winet or Venet,is described by Helmoldus as being situated on the 
island of Usedom, not far from Wollin, a circumstance that, coupled 
with the superlative terms used in its description, suggests the pos- 
sibility of Winet and Julin having been the same town under two dif- 
ferent names, the former Gothic, the latter christian. Winet was cap- 
tured by the christians on or about 1127, in which year 22,000 of its 
citizens, those left from the slaughter, were baptized. 

The allusions to Venet which occur in the pages of Werdenhagen, 
Meursius, Heylyn and Anderson, confirm the view that this famous 
city was also called Julin ; in other words, that both names related to 
the same place. It appears that during or after the siege * *the Swedes 
from the island of Gotland " carried away from it *^ whatever was cu- 
rious in workmanship and ornaments, either in iron, brass, or marble; 
as also tools, instruments, or vessels of silver, copper, or tin ; and 
amongst other things, two brazen gates of a vast weight; and that 
from thence sprang the splendour and wealth of the once famous city 
of Wisby and its stately houses, more splendid than even the palaces 
of Nuremburg or Cologne." (Anderson.) Not many years after the 
capture of Venet by the christians, the dykes that protected it from 
the sea were destroyed, whether accidentally or by design is not re*: 
lated, and the entire city was overwhelmed. According to Ander- 
son, citing Werdenhagen, ** its foundations may yet be discovered and 
even some of its streets, as also the ruins of many magnificent struc- 
tures; and although the sea covers the greatest part of its ruins, yet 
that part of them which is seen, is much larger than the whole cir- 
cumference of the city of Lubeck." 

Bardewick (Badhr-wick) a pagan city of the first class, stoodaboub 
a mile north of Luneburg, (Linonia),aIso a pagan city,and both of them 
very ancient. They were captured and sacked by Charlemagne, about 
the year 800 to 810." The inhabitants were slaughtered or driven 

" Eginhard. 


forth and their places filled with christians. Charlemagne made Bar- 
4lewick a bishop's see and subjected it to ecclesiastical rule. Not- 
withstanding its change of inhabitants, it seems to have remained a 
place of some importance until the destruction of Winet, possibly be- 
cause a commercial intercourse was still maintained between these 
anciently confederated cities of the hansa. There is a charter extant 
of the emperor Lothaire II., dated at Bardewick, in the year 1137. 

Whilst Frederick Barbarosa and the Count of Holstein were absent 
in the second crusade, Henry Lion, who zealously supported the pa- 
pal See, captured the cities of Lubeck, Staden, Hamburg and Barde- 
wick. In his attempt upon the last named place, the citizens are said 
to have defied him from the walls in so insulting a manner, that when 
the city was taken, he levelled it to the ground. Its trade was there- 
upon divided between Luneburg, Hamburg and Lubeck; and upon its 
site grew up an obscure hamlet by the same name. The story of the 
insult smells of the cloister; and as the same fate befell all the cities 
of the pagan hansa, whether their citizens were rude or polite, it is 
not necessary to believe it. The various places captured by Henry- 
Lion were retaken from him when the emperor returned from Pales- 
tine, and were restored to the Count of Holstein. Even the hereditary 
dominions of Henry Lion, including Bavaria and Saxony, were be- 
stowed upon other princes, and he himself was proscribed at the Diet 
of Wurtzburg, 1180. Upon this, he went to England, and there suc- 
ceeded in obtaining the good offices of his father-in-law, who, inter- 
ceding in his behalf with the emperor, the latter forgave him and re- 
stored him to his dominions. These now included the city of Luneburg. 

The ancient city of Novgorod (Novgorod Veliki) must not be con- 
founded with the modern city of Nijni Novgorod. Although the two 
were not very far apart, the former was on the Volkof, while the lat- 
ter is on the Volga. The province of Novgorod appears to have en- 
joyed great prosperity when in the hands of the Goths of the fifth 
century. At this period their domains comprised the whole of the 
modern countries of St. Petersburg and Great Novgorod, then known 
as Holmgard. South and east of this lay Gardariki, which was des- 
tined to succumb to Gothic rule in the following century, when one 
of their kings, Ivan Vidf ami, reigned at once over Northumbria, (Eng- 
land,) Sweden, Denmark, and the coasts of Saxony, that is to say, 
Hanover, Mecklenburg, Pomerania and the Baltic provinces." **A11 
the people of the coast between the Rhine and Vistula spoke a very 
similar language." " They included the Welatabi, Sorabi, Abroditi, 

' '" Ynglinga Saga, c. 45-6; Saxo-Grammaticus; Durham, 288-9. '* Eginhard, $8. 


and Baemanus (all Slavs)." In the seventh century a considerable trade 
most have existed between Novgorod, Mikliardi, (Byzantium,) and 
the possessions newly acquired by the Arabians in the Orient; and it 
seems probable that this trade was continued by the pagan Hansa un- 
der an incorporation granted or recognized by the Basileus down to 
the Fall of Constantinople.'* Near Novgorod a vase has been dug up 
containing so large a number of Arabian and Oriental coins, that if 
reduced to bullion they would fetch about ^looo." It is a curious 
fact that the oldest date on these coins A. H. 79 (A. D. 698) tallies 
exactly with the oldest date on the 20,000 Moslem coins found in Got- 
land and elsewhere in Scandinavia. Strahlenberg says that thousands 
of similar coins of the same period have been exhumed in the prov- 
ince of Grand Permia. 

Great Novgorod was a pagan city and the capital of the Goths in 
Russia; as such, it existed down to the eleventh century, when it sud- 
denly disappeared, and a cathedral stood in its place. But little more 
is related of it; yet in the scant chronicles of its ending, we see the 
^ack, the torch, the smoking ruins, and the despairing inhabitants, 
as one by one they fell beneath the swords of the Latins or were licked 
up by the flames lighted with their zealous hands. Nijni,or Lower Nov- 
gorod, was founded in 1222, and became one of the christian hansa 
towns in 1276. 

If there is little to regret in the downfall of a pagan hansa and the 
substitution in its place of a christian one, there is much to deplore 
in the sanguinary methods by which these ends were gained. After 
the victories which the .gospel had already won in Gaul and Britain, 
it is difficult to believe that the Gothic or Gotho-Slavic inhabitants 
of Saxony, Mecklenburg, Pomerania, and Russia, could not have been 
won by milder means than robbery, rape, spoliation, slavery and the 

" Eginhard, *' Life of the emperor Karl the Great," London, 1877, p. 58. 

''Justinian IL, A.D. 705, had the strongest reasons for being grateful to the Goths 
of the Cimmerian Bosphorus and of the Danube, whose combined forces had enabled 
him to recover Constantinople. ^' Rambaud's History of Russia, Vol. i, c. iii. 




The Gothic, a mixed language — The Codex Argenteus, ^ forgery — Origin of Eng* 
lish — Gothic government — Laws — Gothic Clans — First appearance trf iendalism — 
Castes — Jarls — Hirsars— Thralls— Later constitution-^Knungs—Leudmenn—Haulde- 
menn — Bondr — Leysingi — Heradsand fylki clans — Things,or councils — Retts — Poly- 
gamy — Harems — Pedigrees — Horse-feasts — Horse-fights — Horse sacrifices— Expo- 
sure of children — Chain-armour — Religion — Solar-worship— Buddhism — The Gothic 
mythology — ^Valhalla — Nistheim, or Hell — Yule — Human sacrifices — The temple of 
Upsala— Treatment of prisoners— Navigation— Fishing — Iron clads— Pirating— Tomb- 
rifling — Women — Marriage — Holmganga — Influence of Roman civilization and of 
Christianity — Houses — Clothing — Destruction of Roman works and arts — Norse An- 
tiquities — Objects found in Norse graves. 

** T^ EFORE the Tyrkir and Asia-men came to the northern lands 
D Risar and half-Risar lived there. Then the people got much 
mixed." * The Risars alluded to are evidently the aborigines whom 
the Goths, Turcomans, or Asia-men, * found peopling the northern 
shores of Europe, and mingling with them, formed the hybrid races, 
one of whom is called by Tacitus the Ingaevones. This mingling of 
blood must have occasioned a blending of languages. Similar blend* 
ings doubtless occurred in Mcesia. The loss of Ovid's Gothic poem 
has assumed almost political proportions; it would double-lock the 
door against the theory of Indo-Germanic migrations and the preten- 
tions of racial or national relationship which have been hung upon 
that theory.' Beyond the fact that the Gothic language, as far back 
as we can trace it, is much mixed both with Chinese, Indian, Greek, 
Latin and what may be termed Ingaeish, or English, words, we know 
little about it. 

* Hervera Saga, c. i. 

• ** Formerly called Getae, now Goths." Photius, ninth century. See also Strabo, 
vii, iii; Philostorgius, ii, 5, etc. 

' It is not doubted that Europe was peopled from Asia, nor that southern Europe 
was peopled from India, but this is quite a different thing from the Indo-Germanic 


Since the ** discovery " of the Codex Argenteus it has been held that 
the Goths of Mcesia had a christian bishop named Uliilas, who be- 
tween the years A. D. 360 and 379 translated the bible into the Gothic 
language. Were this opinion well founded the work might afford us, 
if not a knowledge of the Gothic language generally as spoken at that 
period, at all events a view of the Gothic of Moesia. Unfortunately 
there is too much reason to believe that the Codex Argenteus is es- 
sentially a monkish forgery and that it is not earlier than the ninth 

As with the Gothic language, so with Gothic government, we know 
little or nothing of it previous to its contact with the institutions of 
Rome. The allusions made by Tacitus to the social system of the 
Gothic tribes are far too fanciful and unsatisfactory to build upon; 
the works of Procopius and Jornandes are too late; and there is noth- 
ing between them. The pagan sagas, as will presently be shown, have 
all been altered, and little is left in them concerning the earlier cent- 
uries of our aera. The christian sagas are ages too late. What we are 
justified in assuming is that the Gothic tribes entered northern Eu- 
rope, not later than the fifth century before our aera and at first lived 
in a state of almost entire freedom. They had no hierarchy, no kings- 
(as we now understand the term), no jarls, and no private property 
in lands. They were migratory, pastoral and maritime tribes, who 
lived in tents or boats and wandered from place to place, chiefly along 
the shores of the Baltic or upon its rivers, hunting, fishing and plun- 
dering as they went along, returning at intervals to their head-quarters 
in the land of lestia, there to share their plunder with the gods and 
procure sacerdotal indulgence for further raids. Before the epoch of 
Tacitus, probably before that of Pytheas, they had conquered and 
amalgamated with all the coast tribes and had entered upon the agri- 
cultural phase. The Goths had two sorts of clans, the herad and the 
fylki. It is not clear that they existed simultaneously, or if so whether 
the latter differed from the former in any other respect than magni- 
tude. The members of both herad and fylki held land in common. 
When a man belonged to one herad he could not live with, nor foist 
himself, upon another. * The affairs of each clan were managed by a 
chief and a council, the latter called a Hus-Thing. In after times 
(mentioned below) when the clans were united under a more extended 
realm, there was a National Thing and there is one still in Norway, 

^ See Appendix 6. 

' Fostbrcedra Saga (A.D. 1015-36). Something of the same sort still lingers in the 
Kussian mir, or commune. 


though the present one is no longer a council, but a legislature. The 
term Hus-Thing lives in the English word husting, which has an anal- 
ogous meaning. The Norse legislature was probably borrowed from 
a Greek or Roman original, modified to suit the altered circumstances 
of the borrowers. * 

After contact with the Romans the social system of the Goths un- 
derwent such rapid changes that it would be difficult to describe it 
accurately as of any given period of time. Their petty chieftains, 
each with the vision in his mind's eye of the awful and mysterious 
Caesar of Rome, now strove as much to rob his Gothic compeer of 
political power, as the enemy, of plunder; and the result of this ten- 
dency was to create congeries of tribes, lessen the number and in- 
crease the power of the chieftains, give rise to the rank of jarl or su- 
perior chieftain, and lead to the establishment of private property in 
lands, and the more systematic pursuit of husbandry. In still further 
imitation of the Roman system, the Goths of this period appear to 
have erected more permanent places of worship and conferred addi- 
tional powers and privileges upen their priests, but not to the extent 
of forming the combined civil, military and sacerdotal office of hirsar, 
which seems to have been a product of Roman Christianity. It should, 
however, be stated that after a short interval of unsatisfactory ex- 
periment the places of these hirsars were filled by a class of hirsars 
without sacerdotal powers. 

Before this period, that is to say, toward the end of the Dark Ages, 
the Gothic social systems, following the Roman, began to assume 
feudal forms. This was the result, not of mere imitation, but neces- 
sity. The Roman empire was itself a hierarchy, its entire system of 
government was vicarious and feudal and as the Gothic tribes of Sax- 
ony, Denmark, Britain, Burgundy and Moesia, in short, nearly all the 
Goths, except those of Sweden and Norway, were now vassals of the 
Empire, it followed of necessity that their systems of government 
should assume feudal forms. The earlier sagas prove that at the pe- 
riod last alluded to, the Gothic communities were governed by knungs 
or kings, below wljom were clan-chieftains, jarls, or earls, below whom 
again were karls or bondr, who were freemen, with lands, upon which 
there was a charge. Below these again were the freemen without 
lands, among whom were warriors, boatmen, husbandsmen, and shep- 

' The Alemanni and other tribes of Germany had each a council called witenage- 
mote. The North American Indians also had their tribal councils. One is as unlikely 
as the other to have s;iven rise to a legislature; yet this absurd theory appears in all the 


herds. Last of all were the thralls, or slaves, usually captives in war. 
These wore their hair cropped. 

At a later period the arrangement of castes appears to have been 
as follows: First, the knungs or kungs; next the jarls, originally ap- 
pointed by the kungs, though afterwards the rank became hereditary. 
Following these were the hirsars before described; then the leudes, 
leudmenn, or leudirmen, who appear to have been appointed; the 
haulds, or hauldermen, a higher caste of bondr, whose rank (first or 
last) was hereditary ; next the bondr, who were the most numerous 
caste; the leysingi, a class of freemen; and finally the thralls. Anal- 
ogues of many of these castes continued in England or Scotland during 
the medieval ages and some of them survived so late as the eighteenth 
century. The title of alderman still lingers. 

Although the earlier Gothic, Saxon, and Frankish customs and laws 
are plainly of eastern origin, modified by contact with the Roman law, 
yet it is difficult to separate them into their original elements. A 
Statute of Frauds existed at the period of the Gulathing law, c. 58, 
which provides that *' A fraudulent bargain shall be reckoned as no 
bargain. " This is clearly Roman. The earlier Gulathing law, c. 131, 
provides for a ** man-reckoning- thing," in other words, a domesday 
council, or an assemblage to make a cadastre. This is also a Roman 

In the laws of the Twelve Tables of the early Romans, many offences 
were expiable by fines: a clearly Oriental custom. Under the Gothic 
laws all offences, from the slightest to the gravest, even murders, were 
expiable by fines or retts. • Polygamy prevailed among the Goths long 
after Christianity was introduced. The women's apartments or harems 
were called dyngja, or skemma, and were guarded by eunichs.* Fos- 
ter-brotherhood and the occasional adoption of war captives into the 
family, were among the customs of this period. The Goths were not 
only vain of their pedigrees, but also of those of their horses. " This 
is also an Oriental custom. They were fond of horse-flesh as food, a 
custom that they only relinguished when they accepted Christianity. 

^ The Roman name for a *' man-reckoning Thing** was polypticum. Cod. Theod., 
Lib., XL, tit. 26, leg. 2, et., tit. 28, leg. 13. Poiyptica or cadastres were taken by the 
Romans down to the fifth century. In the eighth century they were employed by the 
barbarians, but only for a short time. See Gnerard*s Polyptique d'Irminon. 

' The ancient Hindus levied fines in '* rettis " or christnalas.each of about 2X g^rains 
of gold. This may be the origin of the word "retts.** See Index to ** Middle Ages 
Revisited ** for *' christnala.** 

* Ragnar Lodbrok*s Saga« The sacred couch of Buddha was called " dung; *' evi- 
dently the same word. '^ Ynlinga Saga, 35; Gretti*s Saga, 29. 


Herodotus, (Clio, 216,) says that the Massagetae sacrificed horses to 
the sun-god. Pliny says the Massagetae, Histi, Arimaspes and others 
were all Scythians and of one race." A horse feast is mentioned in 
Gothic Frisia. relating to the year 722." The Goths also took great 
delight in hesta-things or gatherings of horses, for racing and horse- 
fights, and sometimes burned their horses, either for sacrifice, or 
as a display of opulence. This was done by the Norman nobles so 
late as the reign of Henry Plantagenet. A modern writer says that 
the Pueblo Indians (like the Goths) call the sun-god Thor-id-deh and 
celebrate the vernal equinox with races." The Massagetae exposed 
their old people to death. In like manner the Goths exposed their 
children to death, chiefiy the females. '^ As was the custom, they 
took the child out of the house, put a large stone slab over it, left a 
piece of pork in its mouth and went away." '^ A child bom with a 
cauU ^^ shall be laid at the church-door and the nearest kinsman shall 
watch it till breath is out of it." ** ** If it is a girl thou shall have it 
exposed, but if it is a boy raise it." " "In regard to child-exposure 
and the eating of horse-flesh the old laws to stand." " "King Olaf 
thought that Christianity was badly kept in Iceland when they told 
him it was allowed by the laws to eat horse-flesh and expose children, 
as the heathen used to. do." " 

The religion of the most ancient Goths was evidently a distorted 
form of solar worship, modified by Buddhism (without an hierarchy), 
and after its myths, greatly reduced in number, naa been made sen- 
sible to the coarse conception of a pastoral people, by reducing them 
to idolatrous forms. The names of their gods are a certain indication 
of solar worship, but their application to the days of the septuary 
week does not prove that these memorials of the sun-worship came 
through Buddhism, because such application was only made after their 
acceptance of Christianity. For all we know to the contrary, the Gothic 
sun-worship was older than Buddhism. If it was coarser, it was sim- 
pler, and amidst the many contradictions of their rude mythology one 
can perceive the recognition of a Creative Power, superior even to 
the venerated Woden, a power which they called God and symbolized 
by the mystic T or tau. 

Prof. Max Milller, in one of his earlier works, maintained that: " in 

" Pliny, Nat. Hist., vi, xix, i. 

"Anderson's History Commerce, i. 53. American '* smoked beef" is of Dutch 
(Frisian) origin. It is made of horse flesh. 

" Mr. Charles F. Lummis. in the Cosmopolitan, xv, 146. 

" Fainbagi Ramund Saga. " Earlier Frpstathing Law, i, i. 

>* Grunnlang Ormstringa, 3. " Islendingabok, 7. ^* St. Olafs Saga. 


the Semitic languages the roots expressive of the predicate which 
were to serve as the proper names of any subjects, remained so dis- 
tinct within the body of a word that those who used the word were 
unable to forget its predicate meaning, and retained in most cases a 
•distinct consciousness of its appellative power." " From this premiss 
it was argued that the Jews never forgot the true worship of God, 
never confused the idea of God with His name, never worshipped the 
shadow and forgot the substance of the Deity — as the ** Aryans " did. 
The same may be said of the Gothic languages, the root maintains its 
form substantially unchanged, and as the formative syllables are al- 
ways suffixed and never prefixed to it, there is little chance of over- 
looking or misinterpreting its meaning. But did this circumstance 
keep the Gots, whose very name was a continual reminder of the 
Creator, to the worship of the true Deity? " Not at all. On the con- 
trary, they seem to have been as willing to lapse into idolatry as they 
were to surrender their racial name and exchange it for Scuite,Pict, 
Angle, or some other characteristic name or localism. Nations do not 
take their religion from the peculiarities of their languages, but from 
those of their intellects and passions." Whatever the Gothic concep- 
tion of God at any period, it was probably not a very exalted one. 
Judging from the sagas, the deity of the North was passionate, vio- 
lent, jealous, revengeful, vehement, and unjustly partial to his favourite 
children, the Goths. In place of the calm ineffable smile of the In- 
dian Buddha, the brow of the Norse god was clothed in thunder and 
from his eye flashed war and destruction. The existence of his varied 
attributes was made sensible to the Gothic worshipper by means of 
stones and statues, to which were given the names of Sunna, Mona, 
Tyr, Woden, Thor, Frica, Saetere and others." 

The Gothic religion inculcated martial courage, the duty of show- 
ing no mercy to the enemy, but of despoiling them and (at all events 
at the period when the sagas took their present form) of supporting 
the hirsars by means of sacrifices and voluntary offerings to the gods. 
The reward of the brave and faithful was Valhalla; the punishment 

" " Chips from a German workshop," i, 356. 

^'^ The Codex Argenteus, which there is reason to believe is a product of the ninth 
century, has '* Goths in snnus,'* for " filius Dei sum." Matthew, xxvii, 43. 

•* ** What man esteems, that to him is God," says Mr. Baring-Gould, Hist, of Re- 
ligious Beliefs, (i, 405.) Rather a loose sort of theology, but it seems to bave fitted 
the Goths (as well some other peoples) remarkably well. 

'* Frica was adopted by phallic worshippers as the deity of pro-creation. She was 
the Venus of the North. Kemble, i, 362. Another name for this goddess was Uertha, 
or Earth. 


of the cowardly and disobedient was Nistheim. In Valhalla the he- 
roes spent the day in martial sports, feasting upon pork, quaffing beer, 
and dallying with thinly clad virgins, called valkyries. Sometimes the 
latter visited the earth and dwelt with its heroes during life. Nistheim 
was the cold and joyless underworld where reigned eternal gloom ; the 
presidingdeity was Hell-a, whose abode wasanguish, her table Famine, 
her waiters Expectation, and her bed Disease." The inferno of the 
Romans and of Christianity is evidently a product of the South, where 
coolness is the greatest of luxuries. It was therefore made as hot as 
possible. On the contrary, the Norse hell was freezing cold, fire be- 
ing too cheerful an element in northern countries to form an object 
of terror." 

Among those religious customs of the Goths which Christianity suc- 
cessfully opposed and eradicated, were human sacrifices to the gods. 
**On Thorsness may still be seen the doomring (of stones) within 
which were broken those who were used for sacrifice and the blood- 
stains can still be seen on the stone." " "On Thorsness there still 
stands Thor's stone, on which they broke the men whom they sacri- 
ficed." " **Thorgrin Godi raised a large temple to Thor. On the 
altar stood a large bowl for the blood of the men given to Thor." •* 
Among the human sacrifices were those called blodorn or blood-eagle. *^ 
The skin or flesh of the victim was cut down the whole back to the 
ribs from both sides of the spine, in the shape of an eagle and the 
lungs were drawn through the wound. '*The jarl had a blodorn cut 
on Halfdan's back with a sword, and sacrificed him to Woden for vic- 
tory." " Human sacrifices were made to propitiate the gods when 
praying for favourable seasons and other advantages. ' ^ King Heidrek 
reddened the temple-altars with the blood of king Harald and Half- 
dan * * * in order to improve the season." " ** In a time of famine 
the Swedes surrounded king Olafs house and burned him as a sacri- 
fice for good years." " During the reign of Domaldi, Sweden suffered 
from a great famine. After sacrificing cattle they sacrificed men and 
finding this ineffectual they sacrificed the king himself and reddened 
the altars with his blood." "At the burial of Sigard and Byrnhild 
the mound was reddened with blood and human beings were burned 
with them on the pyre. " * * * ** Harald Fairhair burnt one of his own 

•• Prose Edda, 34. " Kcmble, i, 344. " Eyrbygga, c. 10, (A.D. 890-1031). 
'* Landnama, 11, c. 12. *'' Kjalnesinga, c. 2. 

'* The eagle was a Brahmo-Buddhic emblem. Vishnu is often portrayed mounted on 
the eagle Ganida. ** Flateyjarbok, i» 224, A.D. loi 5-1030. 

•"Hervara, 11-12. " Ynglinga, 47. " Ynglinga, 18. 


sons." " ** Harald * * * burnt his brother Rogueveld together with 
eighty leudmen in his house: this deed was much praised. " '* **When 
Odd slew Hjalma, the beloved of Ingibjorg, he carried to her the ring 
which Hjalma had bequeathed to her. Upon learning of his death 
and at sight of the relic, Ingibjorg fell down dead. This made Odd 
laugh and he carried the woman's corpse and laid it in the arms of 
Hjalma. Then he showed the amusing sight to the king, who enjoyed 
it so much that he seated Odd in the high seat beside him and they 
did feast and make merry together. " To propitiate the goddess, Hakon 
Jarl sacrificed his son Erling seven years old, a very promising youth. 
He gave the boy to his thrall Scopti Kark and Scopti put him to death, 
**in Hakon *s usual way, as taught by him." " When king An was 
sixty he sacrificed his son to Woden, hoping to live another sixty 
years. At the expiration of this period he sacrificed a son every ten 
years, until he had sacrificed nine sons. Then the people stopped him 
and he died." Much of this is probably fabulous and rather proves 
what the Goths believed than what they practiced. 

About thirty-five miles north of Stockholm is Upsala, formerly the 
capital of the Goths, now an obscure cathedral town. The pagan tem- 
ple, wherein, down to 1075, Thor, Woden and Frica were worshipped, 
was destroyed in that year by Ingo and about 1155a christian cathe- 
dral was erected upon its ruins. In Upsala was collected the principal 
plunder which the Goths had obtained from various parts of the Ro- 
man empire. After the introduction of Christianity, some of it found 
its way back to Roman owners. To celebrate a victory the altars of 
the old temple used to be reddened with the blood of captives. A 
portion of the prisoners, no matter what their rank, were sacrificed 
to Woden. They were slaughtered like sheep, their backs broken on 
sharp stones, their blood poured into bowls and their bodies after- 
ward flung out as carrion. The jarl Hakon and his son took their 
food and sat down to eat. They wanted to have the prisoners be- 
headed that day, not at once, but leisurely. They all died heroically. 
The ninth one asked to be smote in the face. ** This was done; he sat 
with his face to Thorkel (the headsman) who walked up to him and 
smote him on his face; he did not wince, except that his eyelids sank 
down, when death came over him." 

Sometimes all the prisoners were slain. *' Olaf fell and Athelstan 
slew all his prisoners. Egil fought for Athelstan and was moody after 
the victory, until Athelstan paid him for his services. " " This was 

•' Snorri Harald Fairhair's Saga, c. 36. ** Ibid, c, 36. 

" Formanna Saga, xi, 134. *• Ynglinga, 29. " Egil's Saga, ii, 475-8. 


A. D. 938, at the battle of Brunanburg, in Britain, in which country, 
as well as in Scandinavia, doom-rings and slabs are still to be seen 
which were used for human sacrifices by the Norsemen. •• In another 
place we have shown the Norsemen's predilection for ships, his fear- 
lessness upon the sea, his skill in navigation. He was not only a good 
sailor, but an indefatigable fisherman. The herring, salmon, cod, ling, 
seal, and whale fisheries of the Norsemen are described in the sagas 
and they were doubtless pursued with the same ardour and success 
that still distinguishes their successors. '• So varied were the improve- 
ments they effected in ships that in the twelfth century they invented 
the iron-clad. ^' He has fifteen ships and a dragon covered with iron 
above the water. It sails through every ship." " ** The Eclidi was 
strong, like a sea-going ship, and its sides were sheathed with iron." ^' 
They also invented the marine barrier. ** Iron chains were stretched 
across the sound to stop the enemy's ships." " 

When the spring ploughing was done the Norse bondr were organized 
by their leaders into pirating or privateering expeditions. If this pur- 
suit failed to prove sufficiently lucrative, the bondr were led back to 
agriculture until they gathered in the harvest. Then they were em- 
barked once more and were expected to live upon plunder until the 
winter's ice drove them into port. The leaders did not regard piracy 
as a crime, it was a trade ; a trade, to which they were born, and which 
they esteemed both honourable and laudable. **The sons of Ragnar 
Lodbrok (Lodbrok means hairy-breeches) made warlike expeditions 
into many lands: England, Walland, (Gaul,) Frakkland and Lum- 
bardi." " ** The sons of Ragnar, after having ravaged in England, 
Walland, Saxland, and all the way along the coast to Lumbardi, Swe- 
den, Denmark and Vindland, returned home."** **The jomsvikings 
went northward along the coasts plundering and ravaging wherever 
they landed. " ** 

They were not satisfied with despoiling the living, they rified the 
dead; and graves were opened to rob the tenants of their jewels and 
arms. This is why in most of the Gothic tumuli the swords, spears 
and other weapons are found broken and twisted ; it was to render 
them useless to the tomb-robber and to dissuade him from seeking fur- 
ther. King Olaf, a viking, who conducted a piratical expedition along 
the coasts of France, ** got very much property " by rifling the sac- 
rificial mounds of the Gauls.** 

•• Proc., Scot. Antiq. Soc. •• Egil's Saga, 10-29. ^ Svarfaela, c. 4. 

** Fridthjof*s Saga, c. i. *' Harald Hadradi*s Saga, c. 15. 

** These mean the coasts of England. France, Provence and Italy. Ragnar's Son's 
Saga, c. 3. ** Fiateyjarbok. *•* Jomsviking Saga, 41-4. ** Forma nna Saga, x. 164. 


Their womea were commonly the spoil of war. A battle usually 
€nded with the enslavement of the male prisoners, the slaughter of the 
old women and infants and the division of the younger females among 
the conquerors. Several instances of this sort are mentioned in the 
sagas; for example, where Knut slew Thorkell, for cheating him of 
his choice of the virgins. After the division, the women were marched 
to the hero's skemma, which men were never allowed to enter. Women 
had no voice in their own marriages; this was wholly in the hands of 
their fathers or guardians. The only regard that men paid to women 
was to exact a price for them from other men. " This is about the 
rights of women. Every man has full rett (indemnity) on behalf of 
his wife. Three marks are due to a hauld if his wife is struck. " *' And 
even rett was not always obtainable. A man was often forced to give 
up his wife for nothing, when another man challenged him to '*holm- 
ganga " and vanquished him. This made the woman the prize of the 
victor. Many a man not deeming himself able to cope with the chal- 
lenger surrendered his wife and daughter or sister to the latter with- 
out a struggle. If a woman was unfaithful, the man could take all her 
property. This provision was open to great abuse. When a man died 
the woman was sometimes burnt alive on his grave. ^* 

Many of the darker features of the Gothic polity and religion were 
effaced in the course of time either by the superior refinement which 
naturally resulted from contact with Roman communities, or else at 
a later period through the gentle influences of Christianity ; whilst many 
other features are still discernible in the customs of the nations who 
have descended from them. In some parts of Sweden and Norway, 
when unusual sounds are heard at night, the peasants still whisper to 
one another, ** 'Tis Woden walking yonder," and when the sighing of 
the forest is heard, they call it, the ''Hunt of Woden." " When it 
thunders or lightens they close their houses and assemble for prayers. 
The Goths of Britain lived in log-cabins whose floors were the earth, 
whose chimneys the roof, and whose window (when they had one) was 
made of the after-birth membranes of cows. The men dressed in pells, 
or skins, which rarely left their backs, for they slept, as well as walked, 
in them.** Many of them wore skins which had been soaked in boil- 
ing pitch and hardened. Their favourite food was the flesh of the 
horse, and they made their feasts merry by throwing the bones at one 
another's heads. 

*' FrosUthing Saga, x, 37. « Gylfaginning, c. 5. 

** Tacitus mentions a forest in the Low Countries called Badhn-henna, >. <., Budd- 
ha's Hunt, or Buddha's Forest. Annals, iv, 73. ^ Ragnar Lodbrok's Saga. 


Such were the men who overthrew — not the Roman hierarchy, for 
that overthrew itself — but Roman civilization in Britain. In the course 
of time many of the Roman buildings which the elements had spared, 
were levelled to the ground, and used as materials for ruder and 
smaller structures. For the Norseman's mode of life was not adapted 
to the spacious and artistic mansions of the Romans. These were fit- 
ted for a higher social state and a populous community, in which the 
sub-division of labour was greatly developed, and the presence of 
tradesmen, artisans, and domestic servants, could be readily com- 
manded; circumstances which no longer existed when the post- Ro- 
man dominion of the Norseman began. The successful insurgents 
were none too friendly to one another; their families were almost iso- 
lated; and they lived for the most part in rude huts where everything 
could be made or repaired by the master and was within reach of his 

In like manner were the Roman arts overthrown. For the success- 
ful prosecution of these arts, security of life and property, coSpera- 
tion, division of labour, a highly artificial monetary system, and many 
other circumstances, laws, and legal institutions, were necessary. All 
these disappeared with the triumph of the insurgents; the arts were 
abandoned, and they sank into oblivion. Even agriculture dwindled 
to the sowing of a scant harvest of grain, and the keeping of a few 
cattle, sheep, and swine. The dainty flowers which the Romans had 
brought from distant Persia and Arabia, faded to bloom no more, the 
sweet-fruited orchards with which they had planted the land, rotted 
away, and the very name of the vetches and greens which they had 
culled with so much care from the gardens of Italy and Gaul, were 
lost to the knowledge of men. 

Yet something remained which was worth preserving, something 
which issued neither from the Roman government nor the Roman 
arts of the imperial period. This was the love of liberty, which the 
Norsemen, though turbulent their lives and rude their manners, 
never forgot. They had brought it from the desert and the sea, 
they had seen it flourish in the Roman commonwealth and were thus 
assured that it fitted as well a civilized community as their own 
rough tribes. They had seen it stricken down by the Hierarchy and 
they had raised it up and nourished it and kept it for posterity. 
Without their fostering care it may have been buried as deeply in 
Europe as it has been in India. 

Many of the objects which the Norsemen plundered from the Ro- 
mans in Britain and elsewhere, have recently been found in Scandi- 


iiavia. The Nydam-bog find, consisting of a boat, skeletons, weapons, 
coins, etc., is ascribed to the years 250 to 300 of our sera, about the 
period of the Sack of London. This date is fixed by the Roman coins 
included in the find. Among the weapons were no less than 106 steel 
swords, several of them with Latin inscriptions. In the Gunnarsbaug 
ship, discovered 1887, in the province of Bergen, were found Roman 
chessmen, tinder-boxes, hand-mills, and other remains, evidently the 
result of plunder. Some beautiful objects of art, such as vases and 
bowls which indicate a Greek origin, and which the Romans may have 
obtained in Greece and afterwards yielded up to the victorious Norse- 
men, were found in the graves of the latter. Fifteen centuries had 
hidden both the booty and the thieves, only to reveal them at last. 
Plunder, destruction, and social retrogression, these were the attrib- 
utes of the Gothic occupation of Britain. The earlier Norse inter- 
ments, those of an aera previous to the Roman conquest of Britain, 
contain no such remains. The spoils of this remote period are of 
little antiquarian value; they are the spoils which one race of savages 
took from another. To inscribe the adventures of these barbarians 
upon the pages of history, is to clothe them with an undeserved sig- 
nificance. Their wars and treaties were alike destitute of interest to 
mankind. Their rule was one of tumult and confusion, which only 
assumed social and political aims when they were brought within the 
pale of Roman government. 



Proofs that the earlier sagas are pagan writings altered by the medieval monks — 
Among these is their frequent mention of baug money, an institution which did not 
survive the contact of Norsemen and Romans — Progressive order of Norse moneys — 
Fish, vadmal and baug moneys — The baug traced from Tartary to Gotland, Saxony 
and Britain — Gold baugs acquired a sacerdotal character — This was probably imme- 
diately after Norse and Roman contact — Subsequent relinquishment of baug money 
and the adoption of coins — Proof that Julius Caesar encountered Norse tribes in Brit- 
ain, derived from his mention of baugs — This view corroborated by archaeology and 
philology — Subsequent Norse coinage system of stycas, scats, and oras — Important 
historical conclusions derived from its study. 

IT needs but a cursory examination of the earlier sagas to be satis- 
fied that they have been grossly mutilated. They jumble together 
events hundreds of years apart; they mingle details which belong to 
communities as yet ignorant of Roman customs, with the affairs of 
communities well acquainted with them; they resurrect the Scythian 
forefathers of the Norsemen and set them down in the midst of med- 
ieval christian saints; they omit all mention of Rome or Roman af- 
fairs, or the Roman religion, or the causes of difference between the 
Norsemen and the Empire; they eschew dates, ignore the calendar, 
and commit the pagan festivals to oblivion. The silly explanation 
which has been offered to us of this disorder is that the sagas were 
popular songs * which were repeated by word of mouth for centuries 
before they were committed to writing, and that this custom produced 
the confusion, omissions, anachronisms, and other defects which now 
characterize them. There might have been a time when such an ex- 
planation was sufficient, but the class of people who offer them forget 
that the world grows and that knowledge is cumulative. We now know 
that language, without a written literature to fix its terms and mean- 
ings, is too ephemeral to last for centuries, indeed that a few genera- 

' Tacitus, Germania.iii, mentions certain uncouth war songs, but this does not prove 
that they were afterwards committed to writing and elaborated into the historical and 
poetical sagas. He also mentions the runes, which he supposes were Greek characters* 


tions mark the utmost time during which it will remain unaltered. It 
was reliance upon this principle that led to the distrust of Macpher- 
son's forged *' Ossian " and that compels us to regard as mutilations 
the Eddas produced by Saemund Sigfusson and Snorri Sturlason.* 

In the present connection the liability of unwritten language to rapid 
mutation proves one of two things; either that the earlier sagas are 
medieval fabrications in Latin, translated into the medieval Norse 
and retranslated into the vernacular, which is precisely the case with 
Macpherson's spurious ** Ossian;" or else they are mutilations of 
early Gothic or runic originals. Their repleteness of historical mate- 
rials and local colouring belonging to the earlier centuries of our sera, 
leads at once to the conclusion last named.' It is this local colouring 
which marks the distinction between a mutilation and a forgery out 
of the whole cloth. Macpherson had no historical dates before him, 
therefore he was forced to forge his entire work. Sigfusson found 
plenty of history in the old written sagas, so he merely mutilated them, 
and, with the sobriquet of ** The Learned *' achieved that immortality 
which is ever the reward of virtue and fidelity. If any further proof, 
than that afforded by the nature of language itself, were needed to 
corroborate these views, it will be found in the allusion to runic writ- 
ings by Tacitus and in the frequent mention of anachronical moneys 
in the sagas. 

The evolution of Norse monetary system^, whether in lestia. Sax- 
ony, Scandinavia, Frakkland, Britain, Russia, or Iceland, usually pro- 
ceeded in the following manner: First, fish and vadmal (cloth) money ; 
second, baug or ring money ; third, imitations of pagan Roman coined 
money; fourth, Norse pagan coinage system (partly derived from the 
Roman system) of stycas, scats and aurars or oras; fifth, intrusion of 
Moslem coinage system of dinars, maravedis and dirhems; sixth, re- 
placement of the last by christian Roman coinage system of j£ s, d. 
This progression did not occur simultaneously in the various coun- 
tries named, because the Goths used coined money in Britain before 
they employed fish money in Iceland; it was the usual order of pro- 
gression in each country or petty kingdom by itself. From the period 
of their original settlement in Britain down to that of their contact 
with the Brigantes, the Norsemen used no coined money, indeed they 
had little or no commerce and lived chiefly by hunting, fishing and 
plundemng. After each raid upon the enemy the plunder was ''car- 

* The Ezra of Iceland, A. D. 1056-1133 and his foster-grandson, A. D. 1178-1241. 
' Charlemagne made a collection of these sagas, but, of course, these are now **lost.'* 
Note to Murphy's Tac. Germ., in, probably from Eginhard. 


ried to the pole " and there divided. It is evident, from numerous 
analogous examples in the sagas, that in each c<ise of dispute, 
the rival claimants fought it out at once and the survivor took 
the lot. This is a custom not of trading communities, but of preda- 
tory bands. 

The first money of the Norsemen in Britain was probably fish, as 
was formerly the case in Norway * and in Iceland down to the close 
of the last century. Sild, bring, or herring, is still used to mean money 
on the Baltic coasts, and the scad or scat, (corrupted to scot,) a fish 
of the same genus, is still used to mean money in North Britain.* 
There are. suggestions of fish-money in the expressions * 'Rome-scat," 
** scot-free," **scot-and lot," etc. Following fish, the money of the 
Norsemen in Britain was vadmal, a homespun cloth, measured by the 
arms-length. Still later they used baugs, or ring money. It was not 
until after all this that they began to strike coins. 

Baugs were anciently that money of Scythia, northern China and 
northern India, of which a reminiscence still survives in the baugle 
or bangle.' At a remote period baug money was introduced from 
Scythia into Egypt. Representations of it appear upon the stone 
monuments of Thebes. Schliemann found baugs in the ruins of 
Mycenae. They have since been found in those of Tel-el- Amarna. As 
for dates, Egyptian chronology has been so ruined iu the various at- 
tempts made to fit it successively into the mythologies of Assyria, 
Greece, and Rome, that no reliance can be placed upon it. The baugs 
engraved at Thebes are round rings, which are represented as being 
placed in the scales to be weighed. No peculiarity of form and no 
stamp marks distinguish them in the sculptures, facts that coupled 
with the weighing led the author in a previous work to doubt that 
they were money. Since that time ** dozens of rings (stamped) with 
the names of Khuen-Aten and his family and moulds for casting rings'* 
have been found in Tel-el- Amarna.' It will now hardly be questioned 
that such rings were money. We can therefore no longer doubt that 
they formed the principal circulating medium of Egypt during the 
time of the Hyksos or Scythian kings. From Egypt baug money made 
its way down the eastern coast of Africa, where the early Portugese 
and Spanish navigators found it, the latter giving to the rings the 

* Frostathing Laws, xvi, 2. 

' According to Mr. T. Baron Russell's "Current Americanisms," (London, 1893,) 
"scads " is still used as a term for '* current coin " in some parts of the United States. 

* The pinched bullet -money of Cochin also appears to be a modification of the baug. 
^ Address of Dr. Flinders Petrie before the Oriental Congress, London, September 

€th, 1892. Khuen is evidently the Tartar ** Kung," or king. 


name of manillas, or manacles, a name that they still bear. They 
were used in Darfoor, lat. 12 north, long. 26 east, so late as 1850; for 
Mr. Curzon saw several chests full of gold baugsfrom that country, 
at Assouan in 1854. They are still used on the West Coast, from 
whence the present author had one of copper, shaped like the letter 
C, that is to say, with the two ends of the ring left apart.* Another 
line of baugs is traceable from Scythia to Gotland, where they are men- 
tioned in sagas, which, although, in their present form, they belong 
to an asra subsequent to the employment of baugs for money, are evi- 
dently mutilated versions of more ancient texts.' Egil having been 
paid two chests of silver as indemnity for his brother, " recites a song 
of praise" in which he alludes to the indemnity as **gul-baug," or 
gold rings, meaning money." 

The suspected mutilations of the sagas are corroborated by the 
known mutilations of the laws : ' ' If a hauld wound a man, he is liable 
to pay six baugar to the king, each worth 1 2 oras. If an arborin-madr 
wounds a man, he has to pay 3 baugar, and a leysingi (freedman) 2, 
a leudrman 12, a jarl 24, a kning 48; 12 oras being in each baug, and 
the fine shall be paid to those to whom it is due by law. All this is 
valued in silver." " The text of this law proves that it assumed its 
present form at three different dates. The first belongs to the bar- 
barous period, when the indemnity was fixed in Gothic baugs;' the 
second to the Romali period, when the baugs were valued in heretical 
oras, or Roman sicilici; and the third to the period when the oras 
were valued in christian silver pennies. The original baug appears 
to have contained 240 grains of gold, or about the same quantity as 
there is in three British sovereigns of the present day. It was probably 
the double of the Hindu dharana. 

A C-shaped figure, like that of the African baug above mentioned, 
is twice repeated on a stone slab from the Kivik grave, near Cim- 
brisham, a monument assigned by archaeologists to a very remote pe- 
riod. Whether it represents the baug or not, cannot at present be 
determined, " but there is some reason to think it does, from the fact 
that gold baugs seem to have been clothed with a sacerdotal character. 
For example, Egil fastened a gold baug on each arm of the dead Thor- 

^ Del Mar's History of Money, 133. Baugs or ring-money are mentioned by Pliny. 
Nat. History, xxiii, i. 

* Bau^s appear to have been used also by the tribes of the Baltic coasts, after the 
Goths conquered or assimilated with them; for the term was employed by the Salic 
Franks, and is still employed in French, to mean rings. 

'^ Egil Saga. The Dutch still give the name of '* gulden *' to certain silver coins. 

" Frostathing Laws, iv, 53; Du Chaillu, i, 549. " Fig. 28, in Du Chaillu, 88. 


off, before he buried him. " And a gold baug was paid for his bride. '* 
Bagi was also the Parthian name for divine or sacred. It appears on 
all the coins of the Arsacidae. " The originals of the Frostathing laws 
may have descended from the period before the Goths revolted from 
Roman control. 

Specimens of Gothic baug money are still extant. Gold, silver and 
iron bangs will be found in the collections of Bergen, Christiania, 
Newcastle, York and other centres of Norse antiquities. There are 
Gothic gold bangs, about one inch in diameter and copper and iron 
baugs in the London and Paris collections. During the, last century 
a vast quantity of small iron ring-money was exhumed in the west 
of Cornwall and one of these was deposited by Mr. Moyle in the Pem- 
broke collection. *' After the aera of baugs, the Goths used coins. 
Says Du Chaillu : '^ A barbaric imitation in gold of a Roman imperial 
coin was found with a skeleton at Aarlesden in Odense, amt Fyen,'* 
a district and island about 86 miles from Copenhagen. " A barbaric 
imitation of a Byzantine coin of the fifth century was found in Mall- 
gard, Gotland. " A barbaric gold coin falsely stamped with the image 
of Louis le Debonnaire was found in Domberg, Zealand, and is now 
in the Paris collection. 

When, several centuries before our aera, the Celts came into con- 
tact with the Greeks, whether in Spain, Gaul or Britain, they began 
to strike Celtish coins in imitation of Greek originals. In like man- 
ner, after the Goths came into contact with the Romans, or rather 
after they had learnt to abhor their religion and despise their arms, 
whether in Mcesia, Saxony, Zealand, or Britain, they began to strike 
Gothic coins in imitation of Roman originals. Such imitations are 
found in the uninscribed stycas, scats and oras of early Britain; a fact 
which is deduced as well from the Latin name of the ora, as the gen- 
eral type and composition of all the pieces. 

When Goth and Roman first met in Britain was when the ring money 
was still used by the former, a period clearly established by the fol- 
lowing passage from the principal work ascribed to Julius Caesar. 
Speaking generally of the tribes whom he encountered in Britain (B. C. 
55) Caesar says: '' Utuntur aut aere, aut nummo aureo, aut annulis 
ferreis, ad certum pondus examinatis pro nummo." . . . '* They used 
either bronze (money) or gold money or iron rings of a certain (de- 
termined) weight, for money." The bronze metal, Caesar adds, was 

" Du Chaillu, 11, 476. " Frostathing Laws, vi, 4; Du Chaillu, 11, 16. 

"Geo. Rawlinson, •'Seventh Monarchy,'* p. 66. 

" Walter Moyle's Works, i, 259. " Du Chaillu, i, 262. " Du Chaillu, i, 275. 


imported. ** It is evident that this ring-money was not used at the 
time by the Celtic or Gaelic tribes of Britain, because these tribes used 
coined money, which as a measure of value, is more precise and con> 
venient than baugs. The Celts also came from Gaul and Belgium, 
where coined money was already in use. Their productions and com- 
merce were too varied for the employment of so rude a measure of 
value as baugs. Caesar says their numbers were countless, their build- 
ings exceedingly numerous, their wealth great in cattle and cultivated 
lands, and their industry diversified; including not only pasturage and 
agriculture, but also mining for tin and iron. " Baugs had not been 
used by the Celtic tribes for nearly three centuries, that is to say, not 
since they had learnt the superiority of coins from the Greeks. On 
the other hand, their use among the Norsemen at this, or perhaps even 
a later, period is proved by the sagas, '* and the conclusion that the 
ring-money found in Britain by Caesar belonged to the Norse tribes, 
in the remoter parts of the island and indicated their presence there, 
seems to be well sustained. " When added to the evidences of archae> 
ology, customs and language adduced by Wright, Stillingfleet, Pink- 
erton, Du Chaillu, Dawkins, Evans and other writers on the subject," 
the body of proof that the Norse settlement of Britain antedates its 
Roman settlement, becomes difficult to overthrow. 

The Norse-British coinage system consisted of stycas, scats and oras. 
The styca was a small bronze coin, struck from the composition de> 
rived probably from the melting down of bronzes and containing about 
70 per cent, of copper and 20 of zinc, the remainder consisting of tin, 
silver, lead, and a minute proportion of gold. The extant stycas are 
confined by numismatists to Northumbria, but a coin of similar de> 

'* De Bell. Gall., v, 12. Several readings of this important passage are given in 
Henry's Hist. Brit., ii, 238. The reading in the text is from a ms. of the tenth cent- 
ury. Mr. Hawkins discovered that this passage had been materially corrupted in later 
copies. Hawkins, "Silver Coins," p. 8, and Ch. Knight, Hist. England, 1, 15, citing 
the remarks on ancient coins in Moneta Historica, Brit.," p. cii. 

'® Even after Caesar had ravaged their lands the Belgians were able to send him sup* 
plies of corn to Gaul. De Bell. Gall., v, 19, 20. 

'* The pagan Norse kings who ruled in Ireland used baug money until they were 
driven out of that country in the twelfth century. This is what Sir John Lubbock, in 
his article on Money, in the ** Nineteenth Century," loosely called the "ring money 
of the anctent O/Zx.** 

" Caesar, v, 9 and 11, alludes to the civil wars which preceded his arrival in Britain, 
and which, since the Celts were all of one religion (the druidical), we may reasonably 
surmise were occasioned by the encroachments of the heretical Norsemen. 

*' Doom-rings and other Norse antiquities of a remote date which have been found ia 
Britain are alluded to elsewhere. 


scription and used as a divider for the scat, must have been employed 
in Kent and elsewhere. The scat was an electrum coin struck from 
the composition resulting from the melting down of gold and silver 
jewelry. The ora was a coin of pure or nearly pure gold. Originally 
containing about 30'grains of gold it fell successively to 22^, 20, 16, 
and even 13 grains. The electrum scats weighed about the same as 
the eras. The early oras are known among modern numismatists, as 
gold scats. Sometimes the scats were stamped with the svastica, or 
with runes, a peculiarity that does not appear upon any coins issued 
by the southern kings of the heptarchical period. Eight stycaswent 
to the scat, and eight scats to the oro. Owing to the composite na- 
ture of the scats, the ratio between gold and silver is indeterminable. 
Judging from the numerical relations between scats and oras, the ratio 
was intended to be 8 for i. ** The coin ora must not be confused with 
the weight ora, which was afterwards the eighth of the mark weight, 
nor must the money of account called the mark, of which more anon, 
be confused with the weight mark. 

There is a remarkable similarity between the Gothic coinage sys- 
tem and that of ancient Japan. There, too, coins were made respect- 
ively of gold, electrum and bronze ; the gold and electrum coins were 
of the same weight; and the relative value of these even- weigh ted 
coins indicated that of the metals which composed them. ** On the 
other hand, the Norse-British systems were distinctly non-German. 
Styca and scat are Norse terms and were not used in Germany; mark 
is also a Norse term, and according to Agricola, it was employed by 
the Goths many centuries before it was known in Germany. The ru- 
nic letters and svastica are both Gothic and pagan. The Germans did 
not strike gold coins. The ratio of 8 for i is Gothic ; that of Germany 
followed the Roman law ; and down to the thirteenth century was either 
12 for I or else, at times, some mean between this and the Gothic 

"In very remote ages, some ten or twelve centuries before our sera, the ratio in India 
■wSiS 5 for i; from the eighth century to the fifth century B.C. it was 6^ for i and with 
some local exceptions, noticed below, it appears (from Marco Polo) to have remained 
iixed at about 6}4 for i until it was (quite unnecessarily) broken down by the blunder- 
ing of the Europeans in the sixteenth century. During the European middle ages the 
Tatio in Delhi was 8 for i; in A. D. 1340 it was 7 for i; in 1380 it was 6}i for i; in 
1556 it was 9 for I. Edward Thomas, *' Pathan kings of Delhi/' p. 235; Prinseps, 
•• Useful Tables;" Del Mar's Monetary Works. 

*^The Japanese system is fully descibed in the author's *' Money and Civiliza- 
tion," chap. XX. The reader must, however, notargue too muchfrom this resemblance. 
In the ruder society life of the Anglo-Saxons, exchanges were comparatively few and 
simple and the monetary system was of minor importance; in the refinement of modem 
Japanese life, it affected the foundations of equity and civil order. 


ratio. Finally, the independent issues of gold and electrqm coins 
were essentially Gothic, because the Goths, down to the eighth, ninth 
or tenth centuries were pagans, and refused to acknowledge the pope; 
whilst the Germans, from the date when their country was made a prov- 
ince of the empire, had invariably bowed to its ecclesiastical authority. 

The so-called Anglo-Saxon coins, were not issued by any central 
authority, but by each Norse chieftain, independent of the others. 
For this reason the valuation of the coins and the metals of which 
they were made, probably greatly varied. More important than all^ 
the whole number of coins was uncertain and subject to the vicissi- 
tudes of war. A successful attack upon the Romans, who down to the 
sixth or seventh century still held many of the walled towns of Brit- 
ain, might in a single day, have doubled the entire circulation of a 
given kingdom; whilst a repulse, followed by Roman pursuit and re- 
prisals, might as suddenly have reduced the circulation to a moiety. 

The reader will bear in mind that the ora described above was the 
original Gothic ora, afterwards called the gold shilling, (gull skilling.) 
not what the ora became in later ages. As time went on it continu- 
ally fell in weight; the ratio of silver to gold changed from 8 for i 
to 6% and 7j4 for i, then to lo for i, then to 12 for i; the number 
of scats, or as they were afterwards called, pennies, to the ora, changed 
from 8 to 5, then to 4, then to 20, 12, 20 and 16. ** In one instance 
there were 15 minutae to the ora. **Ora, vernacula aura, Danis ore, 
fuit olim genus monetae valens, xv minuta." " These may have been 
not copper coins, but silver half-pence. " It would be tedious to ex- 
plain the endless combinations to which the changes in the three terms, 
viz., weight, ratio, and value, gave rise. Eventually the ora became 
a money of account, and as the ora weight was one-eighth of a mark 
weight, so the ora of account was valued at one-eighth of the mark of 
account, which during the Norman and Plantagenet aeras, consisted 
of five gold maravedis, each weighing two- thirds of the Roman sol- 
idus. This mode of fixing the value of the ora gave rise to new and 
still more perplexing numismatic problems, all of which, however, are 
readily solved by the guides herein offered. 

These systems of money of the Norse or so-called Anglo-Saxon 
chieftains of Britain, are relied upon to sustain the conclusions arrived 
at elsewhere in this work, with regard to the racial origin, the religion, 

*' Domesday Book; Ruding i, 315. The relation of four scats to the ora was enacted 
prior to the middle of the tenth century. Judicia Civitatis, Londonise; Ruding, i, 309. 
*' Dolmenis, in Du Fresne, in Fleetwood, 27. 
** The minuta of the Netherlands was the les, or Es. (Budelius). 


the form of government of these people, and the date of their advent 
in Britain. Both from the types, materials and names of the moneys, 
the runic letters and svasticas inscribed upon the coins, the ratio be- 
tween silver and gold in the latter, and the manner in which they were 
issued, it is submitted that they either prove or corroborate the fol- 
lowing results : First, that the Norsemen, or Anglo-Saxons, as they were 
afterwards called, settled in Britain and occupied the northern por- 
tion of it at a very early date, probably long before the landing of Ju- 
lius Caesar. Second, that these people were Goths. Third, that they 
were polytheists. Fourth, that they formed independent chieftain- 
ships or kingdoms in Britain. Fifth, that after an impatient interval 
of submission to the Roman proconsuls, an interval which must have 
ended with the reign of Marcus Aurelius, the Norse chieftains fre- 
quently revolted and in the fifth century became independent, and so 
remained, until they were brought under the yoke of the gospel. 

The dryness and difficulty of these details should not discourage 
the reader who desires to learn the real history of Ancient Britain, 
for it is only by sifting and arranging those facts which were too 
obscure to merit destruction by the hands of the Sacred College, that 
the truth can be determined and rehabilitated. Were there no circum- 
stances to dispute, were there no false history to tear down, a smooth 
and interesting narrative would be one of the easiest of literary com- 
positions. But the world is wearied with historical rhetoric ; it de- 
mands historical truth; for upon that alone can it rely for those 
lessons of experience which may serve it for a guide to future legis- 
lation and wise government. 

1 75 



Imaginary emperors of Britain — The title of Brctwealda was evidently bestowed by 
the pope — Its emptiness proved by the Anglo-Saxon coinages — Conflicting monetary 
systems of the Heptarchy — Utter lack of correspondence in the heptarchical govern- 
ments — Efforts made to unite the coinages and the governments — Their failure — Con- 
tinuance of the heptarchical anarchy. 

SI R FRANCIS P ALGR AVE has laboured hard to prove that during 
the Heptarchy, England was an united and independent empire, 
governed by a bretwealda which he translates the •*britain-wielder," 
under whom served the six other kings of that happy commonwealth. 
His list of the successive bretwealdas comprises the following names: 













Ed wine, 

Religion. Kingdom. 

Pagan Sussex. 

Alleged christian Wessex. 

Pagan until A. D. 597 Kent. 

Alleged christian East Anglia. 

Pagan ; then christian Northumbria. 

Alleged christian 

Oswia, or Oswin,* Alleged christian 


Edward, Elder, 
Edmund I., 
Eadwy, Fair, 



Edward, Martyr, Papal-christian 

978-1016 Ethelred II., Papal-christian 

1016-1017 Edmund II. Papal-christian 

1 01 7-1035 Canute, Papal-christian 

1042-1066 Edward, Confes. Papal-christian 

Mr. Freeman without going so far as Sir Francis, assents to eight 

bretwealdas. Two of these, indicated by asterisks,are not admitted 















Denmark & Eng. 



by Sir Francis. The anarchical condition in which England was 
plunged during the entire period between the Gothic risings and 
the Norman conquest,when its history was filled with incessant wars, 
murders, and usurpations, seems to render superfluous the task of 
controverting this theory. But as it is supported by such high author- 
ity, it requires something more than mere denial. 

In the first place, it is to be observed that there is not sufficient 
warrant for including the pagan king Ella among the bretwealdas. 
There is no original document, or charter, or record, or seal, or coin, 
or inscription, or monument, of any kind, to attest his pretended bret- 
wealdaship, nothing, except the monastic chronicle of Bede, upon 
which suspicious foundation all this superstructure of theory is built.' 
Ella is deemed a bretwealda apparently merely to carry the imagin- 
ary series back to the earliest assumed Anglo-Saxon period, and to 
connect this with the Roman period. His name should be erased from 
the list. We are warranted in doing this by Ragnar Lodbrok's Saga 
and the Ynlinga Saga, both of which texts assure us that contempo- 
raneously with Ella of Northumbria, Ivan Vidfami of Sweden reigned 
over a large portion of England and rebuilt London. We have another 
warrant in the evidence of archaeology and the opinions of Dr. Scarth, 
Dr. Bruce, Sir Francis Palgrave and Mr. Wright, concerning the pe- 
riod when Christianity was introduced into Britain, which was really 
later than the reign of Ella. When this chieftain's name is erased 
from the apochryphal list, which the credulous Bede accepted from 
the simulated archives of Rome, it will appear that all the bretwealdas 
were christians and most of them were kings of Wessex. Ecclesias- 
tical history informs us that they were all good men; the wicked ones 
were such as Fenda, Ethelbald, and Offa, who were pagans. 

Pagans though these wicked kings were, they each in fact reigned 
over a wider dominion and exercised a greater authority than any 
other of the heptarchical kings down to their times; yet neither of 
them assumed, nor were they accorded the title of bretwealda. The 
latter, therefore, appears to have been a distinction reserved exclu- 
sively for the good kings; meaning those who received their pewter 
medals from Rome. Sir Francis notices this fact, but omits the ex- 
planation we have given of it; evidently because the latter would not 
harmonize with his theory. If the bretwealda was an actual and ac- 
knowledged over-lord, why were not Pendaand Offa called bretweal- 
das? Did not the other heptarchical kings acknowledge these pagans 
as their over-lords and actually pay them homage and tribute? And 

> Bede's list of bretwealdas includes Redwald of East Anglia, 599-624. 



in such case how could the virtuous Edwine, Oswald and Oswia have 
been bretwealdas, who were vassals and tributaries to the wicked. 
Penda? What king other than Offa was the bretwealda, while he was 
king of Mercia? 

If we entertain the very natural supposition that the court of Rome, 
in order to bring the barbarian princes or chieftaius '* under the yoke 
of the gospel " granted some of them an empty title, which would 
nevertheless be recognized at Rome, and might carry some moral 
weight among the evangelized inhabitants of Britain, we shall come 
at once to the whole secret of this petty conceit and the motives of 
the ecclesiastics who encouraged it and bequeathed it to history. How- 
ever, we shall presently have better proofs to offer concerning its true 
character. In other words, it will be shown that bretwealda was a 
title which was not acknowledged by the surrounding chieftains and 
exercised no power over them. It was something like the title and 
cocked hat which we bestow upon the African chieftains whom we de- 
sire to cajole ; a beautiful thing to parade in, and to excite the envy 
of the weak, but never to command the respect, obedience, or vas- 
salage, of the stronger, chieftains. 

As for the argument that some of the Anglo-Saxon kings, in char- 
ters still extant, called themselves bretwealdas, this is no confirma- 
tion of the theory at all. Most of these charters are rank forgeries, 
utterly unworthy of credence and useless for inference. Sir Francis 
and Mr. Freeman both admit this; yet they insist upon drawing his- 
torical inferences from them. Even were the charters admitted to be 
genuine, is it a valid argument to infer a permanent theory of gov- 
ernment for seven kingdoms, from the temporary relations of one or 
two or three of them, towards one another, the accidental result of 
war or other vicissitude; or worse yet, to derive the constitutions of 
states from the titles which its princes choose to give themselves? 
Julius Caesar styled himself Son of God ; Augustus proclaimed Julius as 
God the Father, and himself as God's Son; the Count of Vermadois^ 
was announced to Alexius I. — to whom he afterwards paid homage and 
whose feet he kissed — ^as the brother of the King of Kings, meaning 
Philip I., of France; ' whilst the emperor of China of the present day 
terms himself (we believe) the Son of Heaven. Are civil institutions 
to be deduced from flights of impiety, pretension, and egotism? 

Sir Francis Palgrave having discovered, as he supposed,that bret- 
wealda was a Gothic analogue of emperor, at once seeks to carry this- 
Gothic imperial line back to the Roman period. For this purpose, a& 

'Gibbon, vi, 32, n; Matthew Paris,. A. D. 1254; Froissart, iv, 201. 



before explained, he is only too glad to ''annex " Ella, in order that 
he may select from among the Roman emperors some one suitable 
to the continuity of his theory. And whom, will it be imagined he 
settles upon? Let him speak for himself: ''Accustomed to the pres- 
ence of the provincial emperors, situe the glorious reign of their own 
Carausius^ the Britons still considered their country as an empire."* 
What a perversion of facts; what a distortion of history! Carausius 
wasaMenapian; the people over whom he reigned were either Goths, 
or like himself, of Gothic extraction; his government was an usurpa- 
tion and a protest against Roman hierarchical government. When it 
ceased to be that, it fell to pieces, and the "Britons " slew him and 
set up Allectus in his place. Yet we are asked to believe that the 
same Gothic people, who in every act of their communal existence 
evinced their hatred of hierarchical government, deemed glorious the 
memory of that Carausius who had betrayed them to Rome and re- 
joiced in the contemplation of an imperial bondage which they de- 
tested, and to which they had invariably shown their repugnance! 

The proofs which we have elsewhere put forward to refute the the- 
ory of a bretwealdadom during the Heptarchy belong to the positive 
science of numismatics, but they are better than ordinary numismatic 
proofs. They bear that higher relation to the science of numismatics 
which comparative philology bears to verbalism. Just as in an histori- 
cal labyrinth, the grammatical structure of a language is a much safer 
guide than the mere similarity of letters or sounds, so is the struc- 
ture of a monetary system, as compared with mere types of coins. 

It has been shown that during the Heptarchy the monetary systems 
of the various kings were different in many essential particulars, that 
the Gothic and Christian coins were issued upon peculiar and entirely 
different and distinctive systems, that the mode of reckoning in them 
was different, that the arithmetical relations between the coins of 
each series was different, that the ratio of value between the precious 
metals was different ; and it was shown that while this diversity lasted, 
there could have been no bretwealadom, no overlord-ship, no unity 
of the various provinces, no united empire or kingdom of England, 
in the sense pretended or supposed. This diversity of moneys and 
monetary laws was accompanied by a diversity of other laws. It is 
mentioned both by Blackstone and Palgrave that when William the 
Norman landed in England he found in use three distinct codes of 
civil law, the Mercian, the Danishand the West Saxon.* At least one 
of these codes was essentially pagan, whilst another one was essen- 

'Palgrave, I, 563. * Blackstone, I, 65; Palgrave, 49, 


tially christian. Unless it be shown that a united kingdom can be 
governed at once by three coordinate and diverse systems and codes 
of law and its industries and social relations carried on with three 
coordinate, diverse and confusing systems of money, the theory of 
the Wessexian bretwealdadom must be dismissed once for all. 
' To appreciate the maddening confusion which the mobilization and 
mingling of three monetary systems, (the Gothic, Moslem and Ro- 
mano-christian,) would have wrought in England, it is only necessary 
to briefly summarize their prominent characteristics. The Gothic (pa- 
gan) system consisted of native coins of bronze, of gold, and of elec- 
trum, the latter of uncertain composition, and all of them of irregular 
weights. The coins were issued by a multitude of chieftains; they 
exhibit no marks of central monetary authority ; the tale relations were 
octonary; and the ratio of silver to gold was 8 for i. The Moslem 
(heretical) system consisted of native and Moslem gold and silver 
coins, of sterling standard and regular weights. The native Moslem 
coins were issued by the most ambitious and powerful of the Gothic 
princes, yet even these were not sufficiently powerful to prevent the 
circulation of foreign coins within their dominions. The tale relations 
of these coins were decimal, and the ratio was 6j4 for i. The Roman 
(christian) system consisted of gold and silver coins, nearly fine, and 
of bronze coins, all of which were valued by law in moneys of ac- 
count, called ;^ s. d. The silver coins were mostly the product of 
native mints, whilst the gold ones were supplied exclusively by the 
sacred mint of Byzantium. The issues of silver coins were made both 
by princes, bishops, and barons. The tale relations were partly deci- 
mal and partly duodenary, and the ratio was always 12 for i.* 

In perusing these systems the reader will bear in mind that the do- 
mains of the several heptarchical kings were often increased or di- 
minished, as when Sussex was added to Wessex and East Anglia to 
Mercia, or as when, contrariwise, Oxford and Gloucestershire were 
taken from Wessex, and Kent and Essex from Mercia; and that when- 
ever any of the heptarchical princes gained such advantages as ap- 
peared to promise him dominion over the whole or a great portion of 
England, among his first ordinances was usually one to unify the di- 
versity of moneys. Such ordinances were issued by Egbert, Athelstan 
II., Alfred, Ethelstan his grandson, and others; and their failure fur- 
nishes still another proof of the continued diversity of moneys and 
the absence of any unital and independent government in England. 

These details may seem superfluous to some readers. But the false 

• Del Mar's ** History of Monetary Systems." 


history of England which we have undertaken to expose is not to be 
destroyed by reference to "authorities," all of which have been cre- 
ated and set up by the same designing hands. So far as books go, the 
Sacred College of Rome had the entire making of European history 
in its own hands, until the invention of printing put an end to its 
monopoly. If we would look beneath the mendacious fabric it cre- 
ated we must have recourse to other evidences than books, and none 
of these are so important or convincing as coins; first, because coins 
are fabricated in large numbers and are difficult or impossible to suc- 
cessfully falsify; second, because it was customary to bury them for 
safety in subterranean hordes from whence they have been rescued 
in modern times; and third, because of the peculiar and significant 
attributes and inferences which are to be derived from the study of 
nummulary systems. 

The coins of the Heptarchy condemn the received history of Eng- 
land as false. The issuance of gold coins by certain princes of the 
Heptarchy prove that those princes were pagans, who refused to ac- 
knowledge the sovereignty of the Roman empire; for no christian 
prince other than the Basileus possessed or exercised the right to 
strike a gold coin previous to the Fall of Constantinople. It was for- 
bidden and rendered sacrilegious by the pagan pontifical and after- 
wards by the christian pontifical law. The higher valuation of silver 
to gold which the Goths and Moslems accorded, as compared with 
the Romans, places the former outside the limits of the Roman im- 
perial state. And the regnal periods stamped on the coins affix precise 
dates to all of these circumstances. Moreover, they prove that no 
such sole sovereignties existed in England as has been claimed; that 
though some of the heptarchical '* kingdoms " were united, they were 
not united into a single kingdom ; and that the suzerainty of Rome 
over England, though greatly strengthened from the time of Ofifa to 
that of Harold, was far from the attainment of that complete control 
for which Rome contended and upon which,had it been conceded,she 
was prepared to base other and greater claims. 

The hypothesis of a Britain- wielder and of an early British Empire is 
in all probability based upon a mere verbal quibble, the common ma- 
terial of the historical romances which were constructed in medieval 
Rome. In the First Book of Caesar's Commentaries of the Wars in 
Gaul we read of Liscus, chief of the iEduans, " who is styled Bergo- 
bret in the language of the country and appointed yearly, with power 
of life and death." Bergobret was equivalent to Burghmaster; Bret- 
wealda was equivalent to Forester, or Chief of the Woods ; one was 


the chieftain of an urban, the other of a provincial, tribe. Here is 
the theory of the Venerable Bede brought to book ; here is Sir Fran- 
cis Palgrave's British imperial dynasty stripped of its Roman ecclesi- 
astical dress and reduced to simple truth. The collapse is lamentable. 
The general result of these researches is that whilst the pagan states 
of England were indigenous growths and acknowledged no suzerain, 
the christain states were the offspring of the Roman pontificate and 
amenable to its control. Their political relations to Rome — not as 
construed by national pride but as shown by contemporaneous evi- 
dences, among which is the conclusive evidence of the coinages — were 
those of feudal provinces, whose princes were not independent, but 
vassals of a distant suzerain; provinces whose laws were not final, but 
subject to appellate Rome; provinces of limited powers, restricted, 
bound, conditioned, hampered, burdened and hindered by institutes 
"whose history had been forgotten and whose origin was unknown. 




Fiction of an united England — The first break in the continuity of Roman power, 
since the evangelization of the Romano-British provinces, was efiFected by William I. 
— He betrays and defies the pope, siezes the ecclesiastical properties and unites Eng- 
land under one government — Retrospect and conclusion. 

THE monkish fiction of an united Anglo-Saxon England,invented 
to hide the fact of an England kept disunited by the oppres- 
sions, impieties and intrigues of Rome, not only- deceived Sir Francis 
Palgrave and Mr. Freeman, it has misled many other writers on the 
subject. Egbert, Alfred, Athelstan, and Canute, are frequently men- 
tioned as ''sole monarchs," as though they ruled a kingdom which 
embraced all England, as though they were each in turn the only sov* 
ereigns of that kingdom, and as though they were independent of any 
control. On the contrary, the numismatic monuments assure us that 
England continued to be divided into provinces much as it was di- 
vided under the Sacred constitution of pagan Rome ; that, at the most, 
these princes only succeeded in uniting some of those provinces; and 
that they were all vassals, from whom homage and tribute were de- 
manded, either by the Basileus and his hierarchical successors, by 
Charlemagne and his self-styled "imperial" successors, or by pope 
Hadrian and his sacerdotal successors. It is true that these demands 
were not always complied with. The Sacred College had subdued the 
reason, but not the freedom-loving instincts of the Goths; and wher- 
ever this race predominated, the feudal claims of the pontificate met 
with resistance. 

That the Norman conquest of England was greatly facilitated by a 
papal attempt to bring the country more thoroughly under Roman sub- 
jection, is now, we believe, an historical fact, too commonly admit- 
ted, to need corroboration. The grants of Apulia to Robert Guiscard 
and of England to William of Normandy were made at about the same 
time, and both attest the weakness of the pontificate at this period; 


for the religious fidelity of the Norman chieftains was well known to 
be subordinate to their love of freedom, conquest and plunder; while 
the concessions by pope Nicholas to Robert and by pope Alexander 
to William, would hardly have been made, if the kingdoms granted 
to them could have been brought under pontifical control without their 

But although the pope's banner, under which William fought at Hast- 
ings and the pope's approbation, which attended his coronation at 
Westminster, both contributed to render the conquest easy, it would 
appear that the permanence of William's government was due to cir- 
cumstances of precisely an opposite bearing. It was the wily Norman's 
subservience to the pope that conquered the nobles and prelates; it 
was his subsequent defiance of the pope that conciliated the people; 
forthis people, like himself, was of aracethat had never failed to en- 
tertain an aversion to hierarchical government. 

The Norman conquest of England was not merely a change of sov- 
ereigns, nor the introduction of a new set of chieftains — which is prob- 
ably all that the pontificate anticipated when it lent its approval to 
the project — it was a change of system from many masters to one mas- 
ter, from anarchy to kingship, from confusion to order, from the petty 
governments of Saxon and Danish princes, many of them new to the 
religion of Rome and easily duped by the methods which the pont- 
ificate practiced to keep communities apart, to the sovereignty of a 
single Norse prince who was well aware of the craft and intrigues of 
the papal court. Egbert and Alfred, Edward and Canute, had been 
kings in the limited sense that they paid homage either to the west- 
ern emperor or the western pope and, in turn, received homage from 
some (though not all) of the petty princes of England. William emu- 
lated the policy of Charlemagne, which was to climb by the church, 
throw down the ladder and reign supreme; to not only govern the 
lords and the priesthood, but the commons as well; and to amalga- 
mate and hammer into one the diverse laws and institutions which 
characterized the ancient subdivisions of the country. Among the 
evidences of this design are the respect which William exhibited for 
religion, at the same time that he plundered the monasteries: his re- 
fusal to acknowledge himself a vassal of Rome; his separation of the 
ecclesiastical and civil courts of law; his command to the English 
clergy not to absent themselves from the kingdom without his per- 
mission, nor acknowledge any pope, nor publish any instructions from 
Rome, nor hold any councils, nor promulgate any canons, nor pro- 
nounce any sentence of excommunication upona noble ; nor coin money 


ivithout his consent and approval. Ignoring the papal grant whose 
potent instrumentality had delivered England into his hands, William 
seized upon the principalities, manors, and benefices of the clergy, 
•rifled their treasures, plundered their plate, infringed their privileges 
and invested his own followers with their lucrative livings. In the 
face of the papal edicts concerning investitures, he reduced the church 
lands to the condition of knight fees or baronies, and compelled the 
bishops to afford him that military service, for which every Gothic 
•prince, since Clovis, had contended, but which, so great was yet the 
power of Rome, that but few of them had succeeded in securing from 

The success of these measures was due neither to the numbers nor 
the valour of William's followers, but to the indifference or sympathy 
of the commons. The British and Roman elements of the population 
had faded into comparative insignificance and had been replaced with 
Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Danes, Norwegians, Menapians and Normans. 
All of these people were of kindred blood, habits, and convictions; 
and among these convictions remained that ineradicable hatred of 
sacerdotal government which characterized the Gothic tribes at the 
beginning of history and which characterizes their descendants to- 
day.' It is asking us too much to believe that William's military power 
was sufficient to crush the numerous rebellions of the ** Anglo-Saxon " 
lords which distinguished his reign, unless he had been largely sup- 
ported by the sympathy and aid of the inferior ** Anglo-Saxon " no- 
bility. His Norman followers were not the only nobles in England 
who knew the Song of Roland, nor the only ones who lifted their 
voices to proclaim William as king of England in Westminster Abbey. 
We have repeated instances throughout the dark and medieval ages, 
of Gothic chieftains and princes, whose military prestige and admin- 
istrative ability rendered them superior to the always decaying gov- 
ernment of Rome, and compelled it for a time to bow to their will. 
Alaric, Clovis, Charlemagne, Offa, William of Normandy, were all 
leaders of this stamp. But their institutes rarely survived their reigns. 
Rome, even in its decay, was so active and persistent that it succes- 
sively destroyed them all. It was a contest between individuals who 

* Military service from ecclesiastics has only been secured by the French govern- 
ment within the past few years. 

* The necessity for those frequent interdictions of Druidical and Gothic rites and 
customs which appear in the canons of Edgar, Athelstan, and other sub-papal princes 
of this period, prove the large element of anti-papal sentiment and opinion entertained 
by the people of England. Spelman. Concil., I, 443-78; Henry. Hist. Britain, ii, 275. 
It also explains the popularity of Godwin and his sons. 


lived, differed, and died, and a Corporation which lived, but never 
faltered and could not die. Sooner or later these princes passed away, 
and sooner or later Rome resumed its unnatural and decrepid sway. 
The line of Clovis disappeared with the feeble princes whose shadowy 
thrones were seized by Episcopal mayors of the palace; the line of 
Charlemagne terminated with the Saintly, the Bald, the Stammering, 
and the Simple, mere puppets of Roman intrigue; Off a and his laws 
were both buried in a Roman monastery ; and William's institutes ex- 
pired in the Roman vassalage of Stephen and John. 

Despite the brave words in which William's reply was conveyed to 
pope Gregory, there are many evidence to indicate that the Norman 
did not intend to wholly disavow the suzerainty of the empire. He 
never infringed the prerogatives that still remained in the hands of 
the pope's ancient suzerain, the Sacred emperor of Constantinople ; 
he created no nobles of the rank of prince or duke; he chartered no 
corporations; he convened no national senate or parliament; he en- 
tered into no treaties with foreign nations ; he abstained from foreign 
wars; he neither sent nor received foreign ambassadors; he main- 
tained neither standing army nor fleet ; he claimed no mines royal ; he 
struck no gold coins; he made no alteration in the Roman valuation 
of gold and silver money. These were prerogatives of sovereignty, 
which, from the moment that the monarchs of England became 
undeniably independent, were all exercised with unmistakeable 
vigour; yet the Norman conqueror did not venture to indulge in 
one of them. * 

His attitude was a waiting one, and it remained a waiting one so 
long as he lived. If the pontificate under Alexander was weak, the 
empire under the infant Henry IV., and the regent Agnes, was weaker; 
and as the attitude attributed to William was not assumed until after 
that deadly struggle between western pope and emperor had broken 
out, which deprived both these powers of the means to enforce their 
claims of suzerainty, it would seem that William, too conscious of his 
inability to hold England against the wishes of the winner in this con- 

' The coinage of gold was a proclamation of absolute sovereignty, a prerogatiye of 
the Cxsars, which descended to the Basileus, and was never attempted to be exercised 
by any christian prince until he was prepared to assert his independence of the Em- 
pire. This subject is treated at length in the author's other works. The mancusses of 
Offa were pagan coins. The first christian gold coins of England (barring one or two 
doubtful pieces weakly attributed to certain ''bishops** of the heptarchical period) 
were struck by Henry III. in 1257, that is to say, half a century later than the Fall 
of Constantinople and the Basileus. The earliest instance of a claim by the British 
crown to mines royal is to be found in the 47th year of Henry III., 1262. 


test, prudently awaited its issue, before assuming an entirely indepen- 
dent position/ 

In seeking to determine the precise status of medieval kings and 
kingdoms it must be borne in mind that the chronicles of this period 
were written by ecclesiastics, subject to the power and authority of 
the Roman Sacred College. Among the principles which governed 
the policy of this corporation none was more essential to its perpet- 
uity than the suppression of every vestige of the ancient Common- 
wealth, because that government had taught to the world the lesson 
that a priesthood could be maintained without benefices and that the 
civil power was superior to the ecclesiastical. Hence the destruction 
of nearly al! the literature relating to this sera of freedom, and the 
efforts of Gregory and other medieval pontiffs to suppress what little 
remained of it in the emasculated pages of Livy. On the other hand, 
the Sacred College found it necessary to preserve many literary re- 
mains of the Augustan empire, for in these only were to be found the 
origin of its own claims and prerogatives, its title to power, wealth, 
tithes, privileges, immuifitieeand the assumption of universal domin- 
ion. Hence its three-fold recension df the law, and parade of those 
literary fragments, which, having spared and disfigured, itembali&ed 
for the edification of mankind. 

But the perversion of Roman history was not the only literary oc- 
cupation of the College: it had to deal with the Eddas and Sagas of 
the Norsemen. By devoting the whole of Saxony to the devouring: 
sword of Charlemagne and the cities of the Gothic Hansa to the flames, 
it so weakened the power of the Norse kings that they were fain to 
admit those emissaries of Rome, whom in prouder days they had uni- 
formly forbidden their dominions. The usual results followed. In 
the course of a single century the entire mass of Norse literature dis- 
appeared from Scandinavia; but as many of the chieftains eluded the 
arts of evangelization and escaped to Iceland, where they set up a re- 
public of their own, it was not until that remote country was subdued, 
an event deferred until the eleventh century, that the Roman govern- 
ment drew near the full attainment of its sinister objects. There was 
but one more literature in the way: that of the Eastern (Roman) em- 

* WiUiam*s refusal to pay Peter*s pence and homag^e, occurred in 1075; in 1080 Greg- 
ory wrote him: ** Bethink thee whether I must not very diligently provide for thy sal- 
vation and whether for thine own safety thou oughtest not without delay to obey me 
ao that thou mayest possess the land of the living." In excommunicating Henry IV. 
the same pontiff claimed the right to **g^ve and take away empires, kingdoms, prince- 
doms, marquisates, duchies, countships and the possessions of all men." Migne.cxLVii, 
p. 568; Bryce, 160-1. 


pire. Much of this had already been destroyed or perverted by the 
Byzantines. Yet enough of it remained to baulk for awhile the ever 
rising ambition of the popes. For example, the duplicate of the Treaty 
made in A. D. 803 at Seltz, between Nicephorus and Charlemagne, 
which defined the boundaries of the eastern and western empires and 
reconciled the conflicting claims of these rival monarchies, would have 
been an awkward document in the hands of a prince like Frederick 
II. Happily for the papacy it was ''lost" in the conflagration and 
sack of Constantinople. 

Having in this event witnessed the disappearance or annihilation of 
the last scrap of parchment that could invalidate its claims to supreme 
and universal dominion, to immunities, privileges, benefits and ad- 
vantages of every kind, it next proceeded to construct those chron- 
icles of the various kingdoms or provinces of the empire, which it had 
already begun, but which the events of this period compelled it to re- 

Here is where this vast design broke down. It is not within the 
power of man to fabricate an imposture that shall square with the 
centuries. Time will only tally with the truth, Rome has not been able 
to pursue its plan with the unity of design essential to success. Its 
apochryphal chronicles were penned in different ages; and although 
frequently remoulded to conform with altered circumstances, they 
failed to harmonize with one another and were contradicted by those 
fragments of the mutilated literatures which had been permitted ta 
survive and which the art of printing now fixed and placed in the 
hands of the public. The Sacred College was literally hoisted with its 
own petard. The unwilling discoveries of Father Platina in the fif- 
teenth, were followed by those ot Father Pelligrrni in the sixteenth, 
and Father Hardouin in the seventeenth century. The house of cards 
began to tumble; and when that school of modern criticism arose 
which owes not its origin but its immunity to the Reformation, the 
Roman system sustained a fatal perturbation. The fabulous genealo- 
gies of the Norse kings, which lend a cunning air of vraisemblance 
to the monkish chronicles of Britain, and which in the course of a few 
generations deduce all those kings from Woden, failed to agree with the 
discovery that Woden was only another name for Buddha, and that 
Buddha was the god of a remote antiquity. The idle tale of Hengist 
and Horsa was belied by the numerous evidences which the earth 
yielded up of a Norse occupation of Britain long anterior to the fifth 
century. The chronology invented by the monks was controverted 
by the recovery of coins stamped with the names of kings whose ex- 


istence they had suppressed and whose reigns they had blotted out 
from history. The bretwealdas when they ostentatiously paraded in 
the front rank of their array of heroes, proved to be mere puppets, 
whose ghostly titles, awarded in Rome, procured them neither power 
nor authority with their compeers. And in spite of all their efforts to 
efface from British history the operations of the Nors^ Hansa and the 
influence of the Moslem traders, enough evidence has remained to re- 
store them both to the records from which they were torn. 

But strangest of all the evidences discovered by archaeology and 
criticism are those by which the sinister government of Rome has 
been detected lurking behind the thrones of the Middle Ages, and 
especially those whose occupants, a doting pride of local nationality, 
has hitherto recognized as **sole monarchs." Who could have fore- 
seen that in the rude mintages of the Anglo-Saxon, Danish, and Nor- 
man princes, were securely locked up such proofs of hierarchical su- 
zerainty over Britain that not the revival of all the false mints of 
Padua could now efface them? Yet such is the fact. The composition 
and payment of Peter's pence, the abstention from coining gold, the 
peculiar ratio between the precious metals, and many other circum- 
stances in this connection, prove the case beyond successful denial. 

There is another monument of the past which though less palpable 
is more convincing than coins; and this too the pontificate has failed 
to destroy. Whether the Norsemen derived it, as they did many of 
their institutes from the Greek and Roman commonwealths, ortreas- 
ured it among the mysterious relics of a remoter aera of freedom, or 
caught it from the fresh air of the Scythian steppes, or the gales of 
the Atlantic, we know not; but they preserved in their hearts a dread 
and hatred of hierarchical government which no amount of evangeli- 
sation could destroy. This feeling, which relates solely to govern- 
ment and is wholly unmixed with aversion for Catholicism or any other 
form of Christianity as a religion^ is interwoven not only with their in- 
stitutes, it is embalmed in their dialects; and is as unsubdued to-day 
as it was when a Roman keel first cleft the waters of the Baltic. Long 
after the arms of the Caesars had ceased to be formidable, their hier- 
archical government contrived to rule the world and more than once, 
after it seemed to be overthrown, it revived and ruled again. Nor 
has its hopes of a further revival so absolutely died away that the Norse 
races can afford to dispense with a single token of the past which may 
serve to invoke their ancient instincts of freedom, or unite them in 
resistance to the insidious encroachments of this dreadful power. 




WHAT has been proved? That the entire history of Ancient 
Britain and Early England has been mutilated and corrupted, 
to make good the monstrous claims of the Sacred College to both its 
temporal and spiritual suzerainty. God gave the dominion of the earth 
to Christ, Christ to Peter, Peter to the Popes, and the Popes to the 
Emperors. Among the provinces of the Empire was Germany, which 
ever remained faithful to its sovereign. When the barbarians over- 
threw the Roman power in Britain, it was reconquered by Teutonic 
tribesfromGermany,who were vassals of the ** empire; "hence Britain 
was reclaimed for the ** empire " and belonged to it.' Such was the 
theory and the claim of the Church. The claim has been abandoned, 
but the theory remains, and so also does the false history upon which 
it was erected. If this history is allowed to stand, the theory must 
be accepted and the claim only remains in abeyance. The Protest- 
ant Reformation did not attempt to undermine this logic, because 
at that period the archaeological evidences had not been discovered 
which alone could subvert the history, or controvert the theory. The 
Reformation was merely a protest against certain claims of the Church ; 
and although in the course of its developement it has gone much fur- 
ther and practically refused all the claims of the Church, yet it has 
strangely overlooked the importance of examining and refuting the 
imposture upon which those claims were based. 

^ "The Pope, who still (A.D. 1255) acted as Superior Lord of England, had contrib- 
uted very much by the great authority he possessed ,and the terror of his spiritual 
thunders, to support Henry in all his illegal exactions and to prevent the discontented 
barons from proceeding to extremities. But His Holiness about this time led his royal 
vassal of England into an affair which involved him in great expense and trouble by 
making him an offer of the crown of Sicily for his second son, prince Edmond. The 
Pope pretended to dispose of that crown both as Emperor, Lord of Sicily and as Vicar 
of Jesus Christ, to whom all the kingdoms of the earth belonged, * * * Henry accepted 
the offer; and his son was styled King of Sicily." Henry's Hist. Brit., vii, 22. 


The time has come for such an examination. The Church remains, 
(I do not here allude to the Catholic religion, for which I have the 
greatest respect, but to the Roman Pontificate, which is quite a dif- 
ferent thing,) the history remains, the theory remains, the claim re- 
mains; and there are not wanting signs that, in one way or another, 
furtively or openly, attempts will be made to prosecute it to a suc- 
cessful conclusion. 

What has been proved? That the British Islands were not con- 
quered by German vassals of the empire in the fifth century, but by 
Norse freemen before the first century, that is to say, before either 
German or Roman sat foot in them; that the "Anglo-Saxon con- 
quest" of the fifth century is purely imaginary; and that those Brit- 
ish institutes which are of Roman origin, were derived not from the 
Empire, whether pagan or christian, but from the earlier Common- 

The race that conquered Britain never knew what it was to have a 
master; they came from the Desert and the Sea; whose gales were 
not burdened with the sighs of Roman vassalage; they never bent the 
knee to Pontifical Rome; they never acknowledged the suzerainty of 
the Church; and they promptly rebelled, whenever attempts were made 
to force upon them either the worship or the spiritual dominion of 

Their enmities and affiliations prove their attitude. They refused 
to worship Claudius; they rebelled against Gratian; they sat up a re- 
public in Novgorod; they opposed Charlemagne; their trade was con- 
fined to the Baltic and the Orient, to Moslem Spain and to other 
heretical states; and when at length they were duped and overcome 
by the wiles and intrigues of the pontificate, they removed to Iceland 
and there established another republic. The whole history of this 
people, from first to last, is filled with bitter hatred of hierarchical 
government. This is not an **Aryan" sentiment, nor a "Teutonic," 
nor a "German" one; it is purely and distinctively Gothic. It is not 
the prejudice of a people who accepted the Roman government, who 
anointed their sacred sovereigns, and still affectionately term their 
king, a kaiser; it was the prejudice of tribes long accustomed to lib- 
erty and whose knungs were merely military chieftains, many of whom 
were sacrificed to popular superstition or resentment. 

The ever increasing problems of modern society demand for their 
solution the advantages of actual experience; the experience of legis- 
lation, of administration, of execution; and we cannot afford to omit 
from this experience the valuable lessons which were garnered by the 


Roman Commonwealth and preserved by the Gothic states of the 
Medieval Ages. If we ascend beyond the Norman dynasty, where 
shall we find such experience? Shall we seek for it in the false chron- 
icles of the monks, in the corrupted texts which have been transmit- 
ted to us from antiquity, or in the traditions and legends of the Sacred 
College? It must never be forgotten that the written records of the 
past were for twelve centuries in the keeping of men who saw in them 
only the instruments of their own elevation and who never hesitated 
to mould them to their ambitious theory of government. These rec- 
ords must therefore be rewritten; and although the paucity of mate- 
rials may render incomplete or unsatisfactory all present efforts to 
restore the entire truth, the dignity of the subject and value of the 
achievement will doubtless stimulate others and still others to the 
task, until it is successfully and completely accomplished. 





IN A.U. 776 the Cheruscans, a coast tribe who were settled between 
the Elbe and Weser,the Semnones,another coast tribe,a branch of 
the Suevi, settled between the Elbe and the Oder, and, the Longo- 
bards, (all these were Gothic or Semi-Gothic tribes,) terminated their 
alliance with the Germans under Maroboduus and made war upon the 
said Germans, whom they defeated and drove into the Hercynian for- 
est. * *The name of king was detested by the Suevians " and * * Arminius 
was the champion of liberty" explains Tacitus, but the explanation 
is insufficient. Maroboduus, upon his defeat,sent to Rome,his suzerain 
power, for succour, whereupon Tiberius sent his son Drusus with an 
armed force into Illyria (the country of the Veneti), **to secure the 
frontiers (of Rome) from the incursions of the enemy." What enemy? 
As the Germans were at that time the ** allies," or vassals, of Rome, 
there can be but one answer to this question. The enemy was the 
race to which both Suevians and Veneti belonged, the Sacae or Goths 
of the Euxine and Baltic, the ** Gothones " of Tacitus, to whom Cat- 
ualda fled for refuge from the tyranny of Maroboduus and who hav- 
ing defeated the latter compelled him to fly to Rome, where he ended 
his days in obscurity. Tacitus, Ann., i, 46, 62; Germania, 42. 

The immediate followers of Maroboduus were called Marcomanni, 
whom Gibbon i, 315, calls **a Suevic tribe, which was often con- 
founded with the Alemanni (Germans) in their wars and conquests." 
When the emperor Marcus Antoninus defeated the Germans he found 
the Marcomanni still in their service and shipped them off to Britain. 
Dion Cassius, 71-2. The emperor Gallienus married a daughter of 
this race named Pipa. 

In the first century of our aera the Angrivarians were driven to Brit- 
ain. Tacitus, Ann., 11, 24. In the second century Ptolemy places the 
Chauci, a Saxon tribe, in the southeast of Ireland. Geog., 11, 2. In 


the third century Carausius, a Menapian, brought many of his coun- 
trymen into Britain. Kemble's Saxons in England, ed. 1876, i, 12. 
The '* Saxon Shore " extended from Portsmouth to Wells in Norfolk. 
This ''Littus Saxonicum per Britannius was unquestionably that dis- 
trict in which members of the Saxon confederacy were settled. ** Kem- 
ble, I, 14. It is mentioned in the Notitia Imperii, a document that 
dates from A. D. 390 to 400, but which must have been compiled much 
earlier. Kemble, i, 10, 13 note. 

All these allusions to the presence of Goths and Saxons in Britain 
are from Roman writings previous to the alleged invasion of the fifth 
century, in respect of which Kemble furnishes the following remarks: 
** Bede's narrative is apochryphal. . . I do not think it at all prob- 
able that this (the fifth century) was the earliest period at which the 
Germans (meaning the Saxons) formed settlements in England. . . 
There seems to be every probability that . . . Saxons and Angles had 
colonized the eastern shore of England long before the time gener- 
ally assigned for their advent. . . The received account of our (An- 
glo-Saxon) migration, our subsequent fortunes and ultimate settlement 
are devoid of historical truth in every detail. The tale of Hengist 
and Horsa conquering England with three ships is found in the Gothic 
legend of the three shiploads of Goths and Gepidae who landed at the 
mouths of the Vistula; the murder of the British chieftains by Hen- 
gist is told by Widnkind of the Saxons inThuringia; while the story 
of measuring the conquered land with an oxhide cut into thongs is 
found in the myths of many nations." 

Lappenberg also shows that the history of the Anglo-Saxon invasion 
and settlement is mythical. All the dates are calculated upon the sacred 
number 8. Thus the periods of 24, 16, 8 and especially 40 years, are 
met with at every turn. 

In the Traveller's Song in Beowulf and other early Anglo-Saxon 
poems we find many personal names which have attached themselves 
to places. The Herelingas or Harlings, left their name in Harlingen, 
Friesland; the Swaefus (Angles), at Swaflfham ; the Brentings, at Bren- 
tingham; the Scyldings and Scylfings, at Skelding and Shilvington; 
the Ardings, in Ardingly, Ardington and Ardingworth. These were 
the Azdingi, the royal race of Visigoths and Vandals; a name which 
confirms the tradition of a settlement of Vandals in England. (See 
Zeuss, pp. 73, 74 and 461.) The Heardingas left their name to Hard- 
ingham in Norfolk; the Bannings, in Banningham; the Helsings, in 
Helsington and Helsingland (Sweden), and so on with nearly a thous- 
and others, which Kemble gives in an Appendix to his work. The 


T6tingas, a Saxon tribe, left their name to T6tinga-ham,in the county 
of Boulogne, and to Tooting, in Surrey. Kemble, i, 10. 

The Persians (of the Roman period) called the Scythians, Saces;' 
the ancients called them Arami^ens. The Massagetse, the Histi (lesti), 
the Essedones, the Arimaspes^ajud.others, were all Scythians and of 
one race. They traded with the Orient by way of the Oxus, Caspian 
and Euxine. Pliny, Nat. Hist., vi, xix, i. 

The use of coined money was well known to the Phcenicians, the 
Creeks, and the Carthaginians ; and had these nations found none in 
Britain they would scarcely have failed to communicate so useful an 
invention to a country with which they held such valuable and long 
•continued intercourse. The Phoenicians had bronze and brass to sell ; 
the Greeks, silver; and the Carthaginians, gold; and these nations 
would not have omitted to enhance the value of their respective sta- 
ple commodities by indicating the various uses to which they might 
be put. Among these was money. 

The Gauls were of the same race, and spoke the same language as 
some of the southern Britons. The former used coined money several 
centuries before our sera. The art of making and using it must there- 
fore have been known to their insular brethren. Thus there were two 
species of money current in Britain before the Roman period, the 
bangs of the Norsemen and the coins of the Gaels. Both of them are 
mentioned by Caesar and numerous specimens of both species are pre- 
served in our cabinets. Nothing so strikingly marks the difference 
between the Goths and the Teutons and Gaels as these mute but elo- 
quent memorials of the past. The Norsemen used bangs; the Gaels 
and Teutons used coins. 




LFILAS, bishop of the Goths," is mentioned in the ecclesias* 
tical histories of Socrates, SozomenandTheodoret.* **Bishop" 
was the common name applied at that time to any ecclesiastical leader^ 
christian or pagan. For example, the worshippers of Serapis had 

' Socrates, 11, 41; Sozomen, vi, 37; Theodoret, iv, 37. Ulfilas is also mentioned 
in the epitome of Philostorgius, prepared by Photius the Patriarch of Constantinople, 
A.D. 853. Photius caUs him Urfilas, the son of a Cappadocian prisoner to the Goths, 
and an Arian. He places him in the reign of Constantine I., and says that he ** trans- 
lated " both the Old and the New Testaments, but does not say from or into what lan- 


bishops. The assertion that there was an **Ulfilas, bishop of the 
Goths," does not prove him a christian. Sozomen goes farther than 
this, he says that during the reign of Valens,the Huns of the Caspian 
drove the Goths of Moesia into the Roman territory of Thrace, when 
the latter sent an agent (A.D. 378), to Valens, asking permission for 
them to remain where they were, a request to which the emperor gra- 
ciously assented. As the ** Goths of Moesia " had occupied that prov- 
ince and the adjoining one of Thracia for upwards of seven hundred 
years, this part of the narrative is evidently perverted. ** Ulfilas, the 
bishop of the nation, was the chief of the embassy." Sozomen goes 
on to say that Ulfilas had previously (A. D. 359) attended the coun- 
cil of Arian christian bishops at Constantinople, ** with Eudoxius and 
Acacius." As Acacius was in fact not made bishop till many years 
later, this part of the narrative is also wrong. Sozomen continues 
that Ulfilas, in pursuance of his mission (of 378) repaired to Constan- 
tinople and ** entered into disputations on doctrinal topics with the 
chiefs of the Arian faction, and they promised to lay his requests (pre- 
sumably about a residence for the Goths), before the emperor, and 
to forward the objects of his embassy, if he would conform to their 
views." What these views were, we are not informed. Whether this 
account is true or false, it does not as yet assert that Ulfilas w^s a 
christian. However, what comes next is more to the point: '* Ulfilas 
exposed himself to innumerable perils in defence of the faith during 
the period that the aforesaid barbarians were abandoned to paganism. 
He taught them the use of letters and translated the Sacred scrip- 
tures into their own language." What faith: the Dionysian? What 
letters: the Runic, the Greek, or the Latin? What Sacred scriptures: 
the Sibylline books, the Theogony of Hesiod, the -^neid of Virgil, 
the legends of les Chrishna, or the gospels of Christ? 

These questions were attempted to be answered by the monks of 
the seventeenth century, who claimed to have discovered in the mon- 
astery of Werden, county of Mark, in Westphalia, (near Cologne,) a 
mutilated version of the gospels, in corrupt Gothic, the letters of 
which were formed of silver (hence its name, the Codex Argenteus,) 
and the initials of gold. The work thus providentially discovered 
was recognized by them as the translation of ** Eufilas," bishop of the 
Goths, in the fourth century. It was pretended by John Geo. Wach- 
ter, on behalf of the alleged discoverers, that the ms. had probably 
been captured either by Clovis from Alaric II. at Toulouse, in 507, 
or by Childebert from Amalaric, in 531, and, by one of these mon- 
archs, deposited in the abbey of Werden; but no proofs worthy of a 


moment's consideration were offered in support of these strange pre- 

Before pursuing the narrative of this holy relic it will be as well to 
examine the credentials of the earliest witness, upon whose testimony 
its pretended authorship rests. These credentials are drawn not from 
his enemies but his friends, those whom both inclination and interest 
prompted to give to the world the most favourable account of his 
work. Says his translator, Mr. Edward Halford, M. A., late scholar 
of Balliol College, Oxford: ** The ecclesiastical History of Sozomen 
seems to have been commenced about the year 443. It is generally 
admitted to have suffered many alterations and mutilations, and this 
may in some measure serve to account for the frequent inaccuracies 
in point both of narrative and of chronology, which pervade the nine 
books of which it is composed. It is evident from the very abrupt 
termination of this history that it is but a fragmentary portion of a 
larger work." " So much for the testimony of Sozomen: it has been 
altered and mutilated ; it is inaccurate; it is fragmentary. Is it worth 
while to consider it any farther? 

Upon its ** discovery " at Werden the Codex Argenteus was taken to 
Prague, where, at a later period, it was captured by the forces under 
Oustavus Adolphus and sent to Stockholm. After lying for some time in 
the library of Queen Christina, it suddenly disappeared, and is said to 
have turned up again in Holland during the year 1665. But there is 
no certainty that what turned up was the original. In 1669 it was pur- 
chased by Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie for 600 thalers, and presented 
to the University of Upsal, where it remained until 1702, when it was 
lost by fire. However, before this occurred, it was copied and pub- 
lished, so that we have, what is said to be, a correct copy of it at the 
present time. Of the truth of this statement the reader may be able 
to judge for himself as we proceed. The title of the first edition ap- 
pears in the Bibliography prefixed to the present volume. The second 
edition was published in 167 1, at Stockholm, and many editions have 
since appeared. 

Like all the literary evidences touching religion, which have been 
preserved or prepared for the edification of posterity, this one has 
■evidently passed through the hands of the Sacred College of Rome 
and has been subjected to the studied revision of the subtlest agents 
whose services that institution could command. Therefore the proofs 
of its perversion (if it be perverted) must not be expected to lie upon 
the surface. Briefly recounted, they are as follows: 

• Wachtcr, lib., in, c. 10. » Preface to 8vo. ed. 1855, p. 6. 


I. — The Codex Argenteus has neither date nor signature; always 
grounds of grave suspicion in relation to any document. 

II. — The margin of the burnt vellum contained various readings, a 
proof that this copy was prepared at a later period than that assigned 
to Ulfilas. 

III. — A portion of the Codex, as at present printed, was taken in 
1763 from some scattered leaves of vellum which it is alleged once 
formed part of the gospels with a ** Gothic "translation, of the ninth 
century, found in the library of Wolfenbtittel, duchy of Brunswick. 
This is called the Carolinus. 

IV. — Both the original story, the circumstances attending thedis* 
covery of the vellum, and the internal marks, betray for this copy a 
medieval, German, monastic, paternity. Ulfilas is neither a Gothic 
nor a Cappadocian name. Both the Codex Argenteus and the Codex 
Carolinus were found in a part of Germany, where there had been no 
Goths since the days of Charles Martel. No other manuscript exists 
containing similar letters, many of which are a mixture of Greek and 
Latin, the same as were employed in Italy during the medieval ages/ 

V. — The runic alphabet contained sixteen letters; that of the Codex 
contains twenty-five and they are very unlike runes.* Upon closer 
examination, the letters of the Codex (which were all capitals) ap- 
peared '* not to have been written with a pen, but stamped or printed 
on the vellum, with hot metal types, in the same manner as the book> 
binders at present letter the backs of books. " Except that in the case 
of the Codex each letter was ** stamped separately " we have here the 
invention of printing with moveable types. This may be an Indiaa 
invention brought by the Goths from the East, but it was certainly 
unknown in the West.' From the outset of their intercourse with the 
Goths the Roman monks opposed the use of runic letters ''as tend- 
ing to retain the people in their ancient superstitions. " ^ In connection 
with the present subject this policy assumes a profound significance. 
The language of the Codex is more German than Gothic, approach- 
ing nearest to the present dialect of Thuringen. The grammar of the 
language of the Codex Argenteus is German, which has an article, 
whilst the Gothic denotes the article by the termination. The infini- 
tives are frequently formed by prefixing ga, as galaikan, gatairan, etc. , 
like the Thuringian idiom, in gervicha, gervichen, etc. The Suabian 
monk, Otfrid, wrote a variety of works, among them what is called 

* As proved by an Arrezzan conveyance in the Inscriptiones Antiquse of J. Baptista 
Domius, Florence, 1731, p. 496. 

* Mallet, 225-32. * Mallet, 225; Dom. Johan Ihre, etc. ^ Mallet, 228. 


a paraphrase of the gospels in Allemanian rhyme, about A.D. 876, 
and he opened a school of literature in the abbey of Weissenburg, in 
Alsace, where this copy of the Codex Argenteus is as likely to have 
been prepared as in a Gothic settlement on the banks of the Danube. 
The ninth century also produced the Ludwigslied, which celebrates 
a victory over the Goths, and suggests the preparation of just such 
a work as the Codex Argenteus, with which to convert the newly con- 
quered heathen. In a treatise on the Ceremonies of the Byzantine 
Court, written by the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, during 
the tenth century, are two catalogues of Gothic words used at the 
same time in Moesia and Thracia; yet none of them bear any resem- 
blance to the language of the Codex Argenteus, which, therefore, 
concludes Mosheim, is not Gothic. If not Gothic, he leaves it to be 
inferred that it is a forgery. In coming to this conclusion the emi- 
nent commentator saw no middle ground between accepting the Co- 
dex as a Gothic translation of the Greek gospels and an imposture. 
But suppose that instead of an imposture it was merely a perversion; 
suppose that instead of being a translation of the Greek gospels it was 
really the original text from which our (Greek) gospels themselves 
were translated and altered; what then? 




Tyne to Solway, Inner. 

. 80 Agricola, Forth to Clyde, Outer, 

\ ,«^ uo^^.o^ Tyne to Solway, Inner, 

Forth to Clyde, Outer, 

Tyne to Solway, Inner. 

The Outer Wall — which was originally built by Agricola and after- 
wards repaired, enlarged, and strengthened by Lollius Urbicus, dur- 
ing the reign of the emperor Antoninus Pius — was also called the 
Vallum Antonini and, in modern days, Graham's Dyke. The Inner 
Wall — built by Agricola, and enlarged and strengthened by Hadrian 
— was called the Vallum Hadriani. 












Sept. Severus 




Aarlesden, amt Fyen, 170. 

Accounts, publication of, 103. 

/Era, 85. 

^sclepiadus, 24, 51. 

Agricola, pro-consul in Brit., 34, 37. 

Aix-la-Chapellc, city, 137, 147, 

Alaric. 65, 82, 134. 

Albans, St., {see Camulodunum.) 

Albigenses, 105, 146. 

Albion, 12. 

Albinus, usurper, 42. 

Aldermen, 157. 

Alemanni, 56, 57, 141, 15611. 

Alfonso el Sabio, 86. 

Alfred the Gt., 86, 91, 143, 179, 182. 

Allectus, 50. 

Amalfi, 86, 88. 

Amber, 3. 130. 

America, 25, 142, 146. 

Anderida, city, 67, 69. 

Angles, a Gothic tribe, 53, 135, 138. 

Anglo-Saxon invasion, 55, 190. 

Antiquarian discoveries, 10. 

Antoninus, Wall of, I9#f. 

Apollonia, 48. 

Appius Claudius, 102. 

Arabians, 75, 146. 

Arcadius, sov.-pont., 65. 

Arians, 57, 140. 

Aristotle. 2, 105. 

Aries, 46, 82. 

Arnoul, bishop of Metz, 146. 

Art, decadence of, 29, 164. 

Assemblage, right of, 14. 

Assessors, iii. 

Astronomy, 24. 

Athelstan, 161, 18411. 

Attila, the Hun, 67, 143. 

August!, 49, 59. 

Augustine, St., 53, 60, 133. 

Augustini, or Augustines, 132. 

Augustus, sov.-pont., 21,23,27,29,69,79, 

82«.. 83, 86«.,94«., 106, 11^,177. 
Aulus Plautius, 34. 
A urea Legenda, 92. 
Avars (see Huns.) 
Aventine, Mt., 99. 

Bacchus, 55ff., 56, 60, 74, loi, 113. 
Bagaudie, 50. 
Baikal lake, 4, 5. 

Bangles (see Baugs). 

Banks, Bankers. Roman, 33. 

Barbarian Invasions, 55, 66, 69, 126. 

Bardewick, 147, 151. 

Barter, 120. 

Bath, city, 35. 

Baugs, 10, 168. 

Bede, 10, 71, 137, i8i, 194, 

Beer, 21. 

Benefices, 18, 63, 184. 

Bergen, Roman voyages to, 25. 

Bishops, pagan, 23, 195. 

Blodorns, 169. 

Boadicea, queen, 29, 34, 35, 48. 

Bombacine, a textile fabric, 21. 

Booksellers,. 104. 

Boulogne (lesoriacum) 19, 21, 24. 

Bowline, sailing on a, 24. 

Brahma, Brahminism, 28, 32, 94. 

Bretagne in France, 2. 

Bretwealdas of the Heptarchy, 175, i88» 

Breweries, 21. 

Bridges, 19. 

Britain, origin of the name, i. 

, circumnavigation of, 38. 

, discovery of, 3. 

, history of, 1 7. 

, introduction of Christianity, q. v. 

, conquest by Hengist& Horsa,q.v. 

Britons, extinction of the Gaelic, 38, 39. 

Brittany, in France, 2. 

Brittia, or Jutland, 2, 8. 

Brittones, 2, 3. 

Bronze Money, 21,22,23,118,123. 

Brunansburg, battle, 162. 

Buddha, Buddhism. 5t i3i 28,32,56ii.»74» 

Burgundy, 67. 
Byzantium, 153. 

Cadastre, 157. 

Caius Flavius, cumle aedile, 27if. 

Caledonia, Caledonians, 38, 40. 

Calendar, 2711., 85. 

Camulodunum, 36. 

Candles, in Roman mines, 2i. 

Canon law, 27#f., 87, loi. 

Cantyre, straits of, 11. 

Caracalla, sov.-pont., 45. 

Carausius, emp., 50, 72, 178. 

Carthage, Carthaginians, 2, 48. 



Cassians, school of jurisconsults, 80. 

Castles, 42. 

Census (set also Cadastre), 157. 

Ceylon, Roman voyages to, 25. 

Chagan, 147. 

Chalk merchants, 23. 

Chalybia, 128. 

Charlemagne, 32, 86, 136, 143, 146, 147, 

Charles Martel, q. v. 
Chickens, Sacred, loi, 103. 
Christian monogram, 31. 
Christianity, 30, 31, 51, 59. 63, 84,85,147. 

, evolution of, 33#f.. 57, 77, 147. 

. its characteristics, 32, 78, 147. 

Christmas, 146. 

Christnalas, 15711. 

Cimbria, Cimbrians, 140. 

Cirencester, 68. 

Civil law, 718, loi. 

Claudius, sov.-pont., i, 12,34,35,72,190. 

Cloth money (se^ Vadmal). 

Clovis, k. Franks. 85, 145. 

Coal mines, Roman, i8#f. 

Cockney dialect, 7. 

Codes of Law, 81. 

Codex Argenteus, 155, 15911., IQ^. 

Cogidanus, 17, 35. 

Coins, bronze, q. v. 

, iron, silver-plated, 42. 

, historical, 104,180,185. 

, Moslem, 153. 

, gold, 185. 

Colchester, city, 36. 

Colonial policy, Roman, 22. 

Comitia, Roman, 27, 78. 

Commerce, foreign, 21. 

Commodus, sov.-pont., 42, 43. 

Common law, 88. 

Commons, House of, 89,94,101,106,114. 

Constantine I., sov.-pont., 51. 

Constantinople, 52, 185. 

, Fall of, 23,92.93,187. 

Copper coins, mines, minting, 18, 20. 

Corn trade, 22. 

Cortes, g2n. 

Coster, or wild apple, 17. 

Councils, 90. 

Cramond (Alaterva), 19. 

Crimes against Mankind, 118. 

Cross, symbol of the, 5,31,32,3311. 

Curia Regis, 92, iii. 

Dagobert, k. Merovingian Franks, 85. 
Dale, 7. 
Danegeld, 44. 
Decadence of Rome, 30. 
Decemviri, the, 100. 
Dicasts {sft Jury). 
Diocletian, sov.-pont., 46, 49. 
Dionysius Exiguus, 85. 

Doctors, Romano-British, 24. 

Drainage of farm lands, 20. 

Druids, Druidism, 8,9, 38, 54, I45,i7iif.» 

Duke, a title of nobility, 185. 
Dykes, 17, 20. 

Earth (stf Sphericity). 
Ecclesiastical law (sft Canon) 
Edward, Elder, 175. 

III., k. England, 93. 

Egyptian chronology, 168. 
Elagabalus, sov^ont., 5. 
Ella, k. Sussex, 134, 176. 
Empert>rrWorship, 13, 25, 27, 29,3i,40fi.» 

England (sff Britain). 
Epictetus, 123. 
Ethelbert, 85, 145. 
Eugenius, sov.-pont., 63. 
Evolution, religious, 33, 77. 
Exposure of children, 158. 

Feuds, feudalism, feudal system, 9, 17^ 

18, 28. 
Fine arts, 23. 
Fiord, 17. 
Fish-money. 168. 
Fisheries, 19, 162. 
Fleets, naval, 19, 143. 
Forgeries, 10, 73, 86#«., 87, 104, 155, 187,. 

189, 197. 
Frakki (sfe Franks). 

Franks, 14,47,140,147. 

Frauds (st^ Statute). 

Frederick Barbarosa, 152. 

Frica, Mother of God, 139, 15911. 

Frisia, Frisians, i, 2. 

Fylkis, Gothic communes, 155. 

Gaels, 8, 195. 

Gaetse, or Getae, 6, 47. 

Gains, Institutes, 82, 84. 

Gan-Esa, Hindu messiah, 6. 

Gardariki, Gothic province, 132, 152. 

Gentes coins, 123. 

Germania of Tacitus, 11,135,142. 

Germans. Germany (see Alemanni) 130, 

Germanicus, Roman title, 11. 
Getse (see Goths). 
Gildas, 71, 137. 
Glass, 18, 20, 22. 
Godfrey, 137. 
Gold, 18,20,22,23,118,185. 
Gospels, suggested originals of the, 198. 
Gotama, 129. 
Gothic Uprisings, 3, 13, 17, 52, 58,60,75, 

133, 174. 
Goths. 10,13,45.52,126.135,139.140,143. 

Government, Roman, 26, 28. 



Government, Gothic, 154. 
'Graham's Dyke, 15. 
Grape vines (see Wines). 
Gratian, sov.-pont., 57,190. 

. ecclesiastic, 87. 

Greek literature, I04#f. 
Gregory I., pope, 32, 70, 86ii. 

VI., pope, 87#f. 

Guelfs and Ghibellines, 137. 
Gunnarsbaug ship find, 165. 

Habeas Corpus, writ, 117. 

Hadrian, sov.-pont., 19,35,39. 

Halcyon Ages, 106, 123. 

Haigaland, 131,139* 

Han, Hansa, Hanseatic, I49ii., l86. 

Hardouin, Father, 187. 

Hengist and Horsa, 2, 53i64f7iti43>i87t 

Henry Lion,duke of Saxony, 148,149,153. 
Heptarchy, 43. 

Herads, Gothic communes, 155. 
Herod, 35. 
Hertha (see Frica). 
Hesta-things (see Horse). 
Hesus, 5^1 5^' » 145* 
Hidalgo, I44if. 

Hierarchies, 13, 16, 114,115,156,183,188. 
Highways in Britain, 19,37,51. 
Hincmar, bishop, 86. 
Hirsars, a Gothic class, 157. 
History, the dignity of, 16, 138, 180, 187, 

Honorius, sov.-pont., 65. 
Horse feasts, sacrifices, etc., 158, 163. 
Horse tribes of the Sacse, 128. 
Human sacrifices, 6, 131, 160. 
Huns; Hungary. 511., 67, 75.147. 149.195. 
Husthings, 155. 
Hyksos, 168. 
Hypocausts, 20. 

Iceland, 5, 190. 

les; lesaca; sun-god, 129, 131. 

lesini, 12, 29. 34, 35. 

lesnu, or Vishnu, Hindu messiah, 3311., 

Image-worship, 25,' 29. 
Ina, k. Wessex, ^on, 
Indo-Germanic theory, 154. 
Industrial classes, Rom.-Brit., 32. 
Ingsevones, 135, 154. 
Inquisition, 81. 
Insurance, marine, 37. 
Ireland, 39, 72. 
Iron, 18, 20. 
Iron-clad ships, 162. 
Ivan Vidfami, 67,133,152. 

Japan; Japanese, 172. 
Jasius, 4. 

Jesuits, 106. 

Jesus Christ, 71, X30. 

Jetland islands, ion., 11. 

Jews, 29, 32, 148. 

John, k. England, 93. 

Jovinus, revolt in Gaul, 56, 67. 

Julian, sov.-pont., 22, 56. 

Julin, city, 150. 

Julius Caesar, 9,12,27, 72, 79,8211., 83,I04» 

furisprudence (see Codes and Law). 
[uridical system, Roman, 23. 
fury, trial by, 14,81,98,108. 

Justinian, sov.-pont., 82. 
utes, 141. 

Kangie, refuse heaps of, 18. 
Kinchester, 68. 
King (see Kung). 
Kingiktorsoak, monument, S5si. 
Kung, or Knung, 156. 

Labeo, jurisconsult, 87. 

Land Tenures, 28, 60. 

Language, Roman, Gothic, etc., 26, 26«.» 

Law, laws, 23,26,80,87. 

Lawyers, Law school, 24, 80,81,86,87. 

Lead, Romano-British pigs of. 36. 

Legal-tender, 123. 

Legatus Augustus, 18,24. 

Legislatures, 93,104,106. 

Lex Romana, 82. 

Liber Pater (see Bacchus). 

Liberty, 78, 80, 83, 92, 106, 108, Ii2,ii4» 


Light-houses, 19. 

Lincoln, city, 68. 

Literature, 104,105,186. 

London, 5,8.811.. 38,41, 48, 5 1,67. 

London, Sack of, 34; Stone, 51. 

Lothaire I., emperor of Germany, 147. 

Lothaire II., , 152. 

Louis IX., Saint, k. Fr., 107. 

Lubeck, city, 151. 

Lunden, Gothic city, 5,9011., 14611. 

Luneburg, or Linonia, city, 147, 151. 

Machine shops, Roman, 20. 

Mseatae, Gothic tribe, 41, 45. 

Magna Charta, 9211., 114. 

Mahomet, Mahometanism, 32, 86,146. 

Maia, Mother of God, 29, 90#f. 

Manillas; ring money of Africa. 169. 

Manufactures, Roman, in Britain, 20. 

Marculfus, forms of, 86. 

Marcus Aurelius, sov.-pont., 4011., 41. 

Maritime traits of the Goths, q. v. 

Marseilles, city, 21. 

Martel, Charles, 146. 

Matrem Deorum (see Mother of gods). 



Maximian Hercules, 4q, 133. 

Maximus, emp., 54.|56, 61, 63, 68, 71, 72. 

Medical practitioners, 24. 

Menapia, Menapians, 2. 

Metonic c>xle, 24. 

Milestones (milliaria), 19, 51. 

Military service, 18, 184. 

Mines, Mining, 18, 21, 30, 36, 37, 39,122. 

Mints, 22. 

Mistletoe, 146. 

Mithra, Mithraism, 31. 

Money, prerogative of, it6; use of, 195. 

Monetary Commission, Roman, 23. 

systems, 22ff., 84, 101,1 1 7, 1 64, 167, 

Montezuma, 35. 
Moors, 57. 

Moral character of the Romans, 30. 
Moslems, 32, 105, 148, 167, 190. 
Mother of the gods, 2, 3. 6, 8, 29, 55^., 

6off., 90M., loi, 131, 139. 
Mowing machines, Roman, 18. 
Mozambique, Roman voyages to, 25. 
Mailer, Max, cited, 54. 
Mutilations of scriptures (ste Forgeries). 
Mutiny of Roman troops, 34, 41. 

Names, Roman 30; Gothic 194; English 92. 

of slaves 31. 
Nautae Parisiaci, 5611. 
Nautical terms, 24. 
Navies, 19, 49, 143, 185. 
Navigation, 24, 162. 
Navigation laws, 21. 
Nennius, monkish chronicler, 73, 137, 
Nero, sov.-pont., 35. 
Ness, or cape, 7. 
New Year, 6. 
Nicaea, council, 60. 
Nistheim, the Gothic hell, 160. 
Nizzuz, 145^. 
Nobility, 28, 90, 177, 185. 
Normans, 182. 191. 
Norsemen, 38, 40, 171,190. 
Norse superstitions. 14, 163. 
North American colonies, 22. 
North umbria, 41. 
Norway; Norwegians, 3, 4, 155. 
Notaries, public, 23. 
Notitia Imperii, 39. 
Notre Dame, 56. 
Novgorod, 133,150,152,190. 
Nummulary grammar, 178. 
Nummularv system, 122. 
Nundine, or Ninth day, 6,98,139. 
Nydham bog find, 165. 

Odin (sff Woden). 

Offa, k. Mercia, A. D. 755-96, 184. 

Orkney Islands, 39. 

Ossian, of Macpherson, a forgery, 167. 

Ovid, cited, 47, i39#f, 154. 
Oxford, city, university and Sec, 7, 197, 
Oxford, Statutory Provisions of, 93. 
Oyster fisheries of the Romans, 19, 21. 

Palimpsests, 76. 

Pannonia, 147. 

Papinian, Roman jurist, 23, 82. 

Paraguay missions, of the Jesuits, io6« 

Parliament (sff Commons). 

Pavements, Roman tasselated, 21. 

Pelligrini, Father, 187. 

Pepin of Heristal, 146. 

Pepin le Bref, A.D. 714-68, 146. 

Perennius, 41. 

Pertinax, sov.-pont., 42. 

Peter's Pence, 4011., i86if., 188. 

Pevensy, destroyed Roman city, 67. 

Phoenicians, i, 128. 

Physicians, Rom.-Brit., 24. 

Picts, 8,10,13,41,71.72. 

Piracy, Gothic, 162. 

Place-names, 7, 131. 

Platina, Cardinal, 187. 

Pliny, on Monetary Crimes, 119. 

Police, Rom.-Brit., 19. 

Polypticum, I57». 

Pompey, the Great, 139. 

Pontifex-Maximus, loi. 

Popes, 87#f., 148. 

Posts, and post-horses, Rom.-Brit., 19. 

Pow-wow, an Indian council, 91. 

Prasutagus, a British chieftain, 17, 34* 

Prerogative of Money, 116, 125,185. 

Printing, alleged, 4th century, 198. 

Priscillian, 62#f. 

Probus, sov.-pont., 47, 50, 133. 

Proconsuls in Britain, 37. 

Professions, learned, 23. 

Publicola, institutes of, 108-9. 

Pultowa, battle, 6. 

Puritans, 106. 

Pytheas of Marseilles, 2, 11, 130, 155. 

Quintius Fabius Rullianus, Max., 102. 

Rada-Gaisus, 4, 65. . 

Ratio of silver to gold, I72#f., 173, 178. 

Receipts (sfe Revenues). 

Religion, Roman, 26, 28, 188. 

Gothic, 154. 

Representation in the Commons, 14. 

Retts, or indemnities, 157. 

Revenue and Expenditure accounts, IC3. 

Risars and Half-Risars, 154. 

Roads (see Highways). 

Roland, the song of, 184. 

Roman history of Britain, 16. 

occupation of Britain, 15. 

language and religion, 75. 

law, 75, 76, 88. 



Rome, sacked by Alaric, 134. 

Scat, 40«., 57, 168. 

Romulus, his alleged Senate, q5. 

Rugen, isle, 149. 

Runes; runic inscriptions, 4, 5, 35«f., 131, 

141, i66if., 167, 172, 196, 198. 
Russia, Russians, 90. 

Sabinians, 80. 
Sacse, 127, 194. 
Sagas, 166, 186. 
Saint Albans, 36. 

Augustine, 72. 

Jerome, 69. 

Saints, or minor deities, 28. 

Sancho IV., k. Aragon, 86. 

Sandefiord, shii>-find, 194. 

Saxons; Saxony, 13,14,135,138.147,153. 

Saxonicus, surname of Theodosius,53. 

Saxon Shore, Counts of the, 13,193. 

Scandinavia, 130, 133. 

Scats, Gothic coins, 167. 

Scots; Scotland, 45. 

Scythia; Scythians, 8, 194. 

Select!. Three Hundred, 107, ill. 

Seltz, Treaty of, 187. 

S. C. (Senatus Consulto) money. (5^^ 

Septimius Severus, sov.-pont., 23, 43. 
Serapion: Serapis, 31 » 33. I95. 
Servius TuUius regulates Rom. tribes, 100. 
Sibylline books, 95, 196. 
Silver, 18, 20, 23, 118, 123. 
Slaves, British, 31. 

Gothic, 157. 

: — Roman, 31,70,82,84,89. 

Ecclesiastical, 60, 92. 

Slavs, or Sclavs, 75, 139, 148, 153. 
Solon and popular rights, 113. 
Son of God (Divus Filius). 29, 177. 
Sozomen, ecclesiastical writer, 196. 
Speaker of the Commons, or Comitia,97, 

Specialization of Industries, 23. 
Sphericity of the Earth, 24. 
Statute of Frauds, Gothic, 157. 
Stilicho, Roman general, 66. 
Stundists, of Russia, ii5#f. 
Subsidence of the Sea, 1911. 
Suiones, 138, 143. 
Surnames (s^e Names). 
Suttee. Gothic, 163. 
Suzerainty of Rome, 189, 193. 
Svastica, 3,131,1-11,172,174. 
Syracuse, city, 48. 

Tacitus, sov.-pont., A.D. 275-6,10511. 

Tam-Ies, Tam-Issas,or Thames, 5, 11, 20. 

Tat (Buddha), 56n. 

Taters, or Tarurs, 112, 136. 

Taxes, tributes and customs, 37, 39, 40n. 

Tel-el-Amama, ring money, 168. 
Teutones, 130.139,195. 
Teutonic monk-knights, 149. 
Teutonic theory, 11. 
Tammuz (set Tham-Ies, Buddha, etc.) 
Theodoric, Gothic k. Italy, 85. 
Theodosian Code (sft also Codes), 27,82. 
Theodosius Saxonicus, 53,57,65,71. 
Theodosius I., sov.-pont., 58,59,65. 

II., 27, 81. 

Things, or Gothic assemblies, 155. 

Thor, 52, 158. 

Thracia, Thracian Goths, 46, 47. 

Thralls {ste slaves). 

Three Hundred (sacred numbers), io8» 

Tiberius, sov.-pont., 23. 
Tiles, 8ff., 19. 

Timseus, on Monetary Crimes, 119. 
Tin, 8, 18. 
Titles {set Nobility). 
Tomb rifling, 162. 
Tombstones, Roman, 30. 
Totems, Gothic, 6. 
Toulouse, city, 82. 
Towns, British, 39. 
Trapesus (Trebizond), 128, 
Treves, city, 46. 51. 62. 
Tribes, British, 39. 
Tribonius, Roman jurist, 82. 
Tribute (set Rome-Scat, etc.), 57. 
Triune deities, 6. 
Truth, historical, 187. 
Twelve Tables, 83, 157. 

Ulfilus, *• bishop of the Goths," 155,195. 
Ulpius, proconsul in Britain, 42. 
Universities, 24, 86, 87, 114. 
Upheaval of the land, ign. 
Upsala, city, 52,147,161. 

Vadmal, cloth money, 149, 161. 
Valentinian I., sov.-pont., 56, 57. 

n., 57, 60. 

Valhalla, 160. 

Valkyries, 160. 

Vandals, 140, 148, 1 50. 

Varangians, 13. 

Varro, Roman writer, I05#f. 

Vassalage, 11, 18, 189. 

Vassals, 35, 189, 193. 

Velocity of Money, 121. 

Vendee, 8. 

Veneti, 2,3,5,8,9,13,128,132,139. 

Baltic, 3.8*139.149.151. 

Venus de Milo, 98. 

Verulamium, city, 36. 

Vicarious government, 42, 51. 

Vikings, 11,45,49,56, 139,142,144,162. 

Villas, Rom. -Brit., 20. 

Vines, 17, 21. 




Vinct {see VenctO. 

Virius Lupus, Roman proconsul,43. 
Vit. Dr. Vicenzo de, cited, 3, 2311. 
Volapuk language, 76. 

Waldemarl., k. Denmark, 150. 

Wales; Welsh, 39, 53. 

Walls, military, 15, I7i I9«.f37f39»40»4if 

Walnuts (Gaul nuts), 17. 
Water-powers, 21. 
Watling street, 51. 
Wax images of ancestors, 28. 
Wessex, kingdom, 175. 
Weston, city, 68. 
Whale fishery, 19. 

Whitsuntide, 113. 

WilUam I., k. England, 182. 

Wines, ai. 

Wisby, 142, 151, 

Witenagemote, 9i,io6,ii4,i25.i56ir. 

Woden, 8,32,52,74,137,146,159.163,187. 

WoUin, isle, 130,150. 

Women, rights of, in Gotland, 163. 

Woollen mills, Rom.-Brit., 21. 

Wroxeter, city, 36, 68. 

Yen-Iesi, river of Siberia, 4, 5. 
York (Eboracum), 19,20,34,44, 68. 
Yoemen, Rom.-Brit., 44. 

Zachi, of Lake Baikal, 5. 






























For inabitants read inhabitants. 

For Adams read Adam, 

AittrSolway afdd and from the Clyde to theFirth of Forth. 

For unmistakedly read unmistakingly. 

For together read say. 

For Jjog read //fp. 

For eunichs read eunuchs. 

For relinguished read relinquished. 

For Portugese read Portuguese. 

For oro read ora. 

For when read whom. 

For Alexus read Alexius. 

For when read whom. 

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